As the national COVID-19 death toll passes the official 150,000 mark, the country is staring down the possibility of a second round of shutdowns. Major U.S. cities, however, have another challenger they’re preparing to confront: federal agents sent to subdue the residents in the streets challenging racism and police brutality. FOIA can help better understand the government’s crackdown.
Figuring out more about federal crackdown in America’s cities
The Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General has opened an investigation into the use of DHS agents against protestors in Portland, Oregon, which has raised the ire of protestors, civil rights advocates, city leaders, and other DHS employees.
A lack of light in Honolulu
Employees in Hawaii may not be getting enough light, Christina Jedra of Civil Beat learned after requesting employee complaints submitted in the office of Honolulu’s acting prosecutor.
The acting Honolulu prosecutor mentioned he implemented a suggestion box for employees to share ideas and/or report wrongdoing by peers. So, I filed a records request for the submissions and got them today.— Christina Jedra (@ChristinaJedra) July 23, 2020
I have to say this wasn't what I was expecting... pic.twitter.com/gMjeAQwWQB
Using a personal email address for official government business doesn’t trump transparency, court rules
Wilbur Ross is the latest federal official found committing what should really be a pretty familiar faux pas by now: conducting government business via personal email. Democracy Forward submitted a FOIA request in 2017 asking for the Commerce Secretary’s communications via a nongovernmental account, but the search conducted never actually included his personal account, to which emails had obviously been sent, based on other records. A federal judge recently ruled that Wilbur’s personal account would now be subject to discovery in a lawsuit about the FOIA violation.
U.S. Marshals needs to improve its contract oversight, according to an audit by the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General of the USMS contract with GEO Group for a private prison in Georgia.
Found using FOIA
Two minutes to greater police transparency
We have a few active Assignments designed to help the public learn more about police work near them.
Choose at least one of the following Assignments and add your local police department to the investigation!
Image via Department of Homeland Security