In this week’s FOIA round-up, a photographer used Federal Bureau of Investigation records to track down the location where a man was murdered 50 years ago for a photo project on the white power movemnt, medical marijuana registry data shows a decline in the rate of medical marijuana patients, and the New York Times Editorial Board calls for a repeal of law that keeps police misconduct records secret.
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Photographer uses FOIA to unveil the location where Klansmen murdered
An article in The Daily Beast describes how photographer Anthony Karen used FOIA to obtained FBI documents that helped him locate the area of Ben Chester White’s muder in 1966. White, a 67-year-old African American in Mississippi, was murdered by three Klansman, who they kidnapped him, shot him over a dozen times, and threw White’s body off a bridge. Karen tracked down the location of White’s murder as part of his long-term project documenting the white power movement.
Read more about Karen’s work and his process here.
Public records reveal the impact on medicinal as more states legalize marijuana
The Associated Press analyzed medical marijuana registry data and noticed a decline in long-standing medical marijuana programs as more states legalize the drug. This can impact those who rely on medical marijuana as the arrival of recreational cannabis can mean fewer, more expensive options.
Read the full AP report and see the data trends here.
The New York Times Editorial Board calls for greater police transparency
The New York Times Editorial Board called for a repeal of a law that keeps the disclosure of police misconduct records a secret. The Editorial Board writes how Section 50-a of the State Civil Rights Law prevents the public from knowing an administrative judge’s decision on whether officer Daniel Pantaleo should be fired for using a prohibited chokehold that led to the death of Eric Garner and waves of protest over police brutality five years ago. The Board emphasizes that a full repeal is necessary and discusses the transparency issue.
Read the entire editorial here.
Texas governor signs bill that helps make contract information public
This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed SB 943, which states that contracting information is public and must be released unless excepted from disclosure. The bill reverses a 2015 Texas Supreme Court decision, which allowed municipalities to withhold records regarding quasi-governmental entities.
Look out for a more detailed article on the implications that the most recent Texas Legislative session had on public records in the near future. Read the court’s full decision here.