• Louisiana joins police compact which brought out-of-state cops to Standing Rock

    This month, Louisiana entered into the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which last year gave out-of-state cops the legal authority to flood into North Dakota during the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. Tellingly, this agreement coincides with the state’s finalization of the Bayou Bridge pipeline proposal, itself an extension of DAPL.

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  • Reflections on Standing Rock

    Thanks to a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, I had the privilege of visiting both North and South Dakota and speak with witnesses and victims of the widespread police violence that occurred on the north border of the Standing Rock Reservation. There will be plenty of follow-up in the weeks to come, but while the memory’s still fresh, I wanted to share an initial reflection from traveling to the treaty lands of the Dakotas.

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  • MuckRock’s Curtis Waltman is heading to Standing Rock

    With help from a grant by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, MuckRock’s Curtis Waltman will have the opportunity to travel to both North and South Dakota beginning this Friday, to speak with victims of this police violence and hear their stories, gather a more complete picture of the tactics used against them, and learn about the aftermath of what this trauma wrought.

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  • Police are getting a lot of use out of cell phone extraction tech

    Mobile phone forensic extraction devices have been a law enforcement tool for years now, and the number of agencies using them is only rising. As part of an ongoing investigation, we have finally been able to turn up some usage logs of this equipment, from the Tulsa Police Department, and Tucson Police Department. While the logs don’t contain specifics of why the phone was being searched, it does list the make of the phone, the date, and the type of extraction - and it underscores just how often the tech is getting used.

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  • Harrowing audio clip reveals unlicensed bounty hunters running amok in North Dakota

    After filing near 50 public records requests tracking regulations that may or may not exist on bail enforcement agents (also commonly called bail recovery agents or bounty hunters), is that the industry is almost entirely devoid of any meaningful oversight. A perfect illustration of this comes to us from North Dakota’s Insurance Department, which helpfully provided a lone audio file concerning a violent struggle by an unlicensed bounty hunter team, and a single complaint written by a woman whose brother had experienced the wrath of an abusive bail agent.

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  • Police departments across the country are spending millions on riot gear

    We’ve all seen the lines of police at protests donning head to toe armor, batons and/or launchers at the ready, glowering down at protesters through face shields. But how much does all that gear cost? According to the early returns on riot gear budgeting requests we have been filing, quite a lot.

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  • Infamous law enforcement trainer Dave Grossman is bringing “Killology” to hospitals and high schools

    Over the course of the last twenty years, retired Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman has risen to become the go-to expert for US law enforcement, traveling across the country giving seminars to police and sheriff’s deputies through his incredibly-named Killology Research Group. Records regarding one such training show Grossman’s interest in branching out, bringing “the Bulletproof Mind” to hospitals and high schools.

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  • Requester’s Voice: Tony Webster on his Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office lawsuit

    Tony Webster, a distinguished public records researcher in his home state of Minnesota and prolific writer covering topics such as privacy, public policy, and public records, has been in a fierce court battle with Hennepin County over a request he sent to the sheriff’s office about their facial recognition program. We got him on the phone to give us a recap of the events surrounding the case and to discuss transparency policy and how he sees the case.

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  • California Department of Justice spent nearly two million dollars on controversial facial recognition software

    In responding to our records request California Department of Justice (CADOJ) has provided documents detailing their acquisition of an expansive and highly advanced facial recognition system. The $1.7 million tech can preform thousands of searches an hour, and appears to be fully integrated with a massive array of police databases.

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  • Chicago Police can’t find records of cellphone extraction tech it had previously released

    In response to a recent public records request, Chicago Police claimed to have no records related to Cellebrite tech used to extract data from cellphones. Which is interesting, considering that CPD had already released that information not even a full two years earlier.

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