In this week’s FOIA round-up, the Federal Bureau of Investigation messed with the Wu-Tang Clan, the Environmental Protection Agency apologizes to an Associated Press reporter after a FOIA’d video shows her being thrown out of headquarters, and California’s Attorney General threatens journalists who uncovered a list of 12,000+ criminal cops.
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The search for Once Upon a Time in Shaolin continues
The strange saga between the feds and the Wu-Tang Clan was recounted this week in an article from The Daily Beast. Reporter Marlow Stern detailed the classification and investigation of the Wu Tang Clan as a gang and jailed “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli’s purchase of their mystery album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and its subsequent disappearance. At the time of Shkreli’s arrest, the Bureau’s New York office tweeted:
#Breaking no seizure warrant at the arrest of Martin Shkreli today, which means we didn't seize the Wu-Tang Clan album.— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) December 17, 2015
However, Wu member RZA insists that the album is still under government possession. This is your annual reminder: Please do not FOIA the Wu Tang Clan album.
Files on the Wu-Tang Clan’s late member Ol’ Dirty Bastard were released in 2011 detailing the classification of the group as a gang, but
Read more about the Wu-FBI-Shkreli saga here.
Footage shows AP reporter being thrown out by EPA security
Security footage obtained by the Associated Press supported AP reporter Ellen Knickmeyer’s claims that she was shoved out of the EPA’s headquarters by a security guard last May. Knickmeyer was attempting to cover a summit concerning drinking water contaminants, but was forced out of the building after security guards told her she wasn’t on an approved press list. The EPA spokesman at the time, Jahan Wilcox, stated that Knickmeyer had “pushed through the security entrance,” and refused to leave, but EPA officials are now apologizing to Knickmeyer and the AP.
Read more about the EPA incident here.
California AG threatens reporters after FOIA turns up list of criminal cops
California Attorney General Xavier Berreca ordered reporters from UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program and its Investigative Studios to destroy FOIA’d documents containing the names of thousands of cops convicted of crimes. The documents were released by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, though Berreca claims that the documents were released inadvertently and that holding onto them is in violation of the law.
Reporters, however, refused to follow Berreca’s demands, saying that the AG was in violation of the First Amendment. The group is currently verifying the identities of approximately 12,000 officers charged with crimes ranging from child pornography to killing someone while driving under the influence.
Read more about the situation here.