With Sunshine Week just around the corner, we wanted to count down the days to our favorite time of year with a closer look at what’s going on behind the black bars: the nine federal FOIA exemptions. Today, strap yourself in for the long-haul because we’re looking at b(7) - the law enforcement exemption.
How FOIA lets personalities shine, Fast and Furious the #opendata way, and a creative new “exemption” in Washington
FOIA doesn’t have to be dry, particularly if you get creative with your requests and how you put the data to work. This week, some great examples of using government data from the New York Times and CityLab, plus a report on a questionable new way to skirt the law via the Tri-City Herald.
A police chief resigned in 2012, pressured in part by an investigation by a private firm. Its findings were soon released to area papers, but years later, the same town refuses to release the same report, claiming that it now has the authority to keep private the findings and its past malfeasance.
Massachusetts agencies can get very creative when trying to avoid complying with public records requests, but some deny requests with such complete disregard for reality that it’s (almost) impressive. Enter the Braintree Police department.
Mass State Police cite *17* public records exemptions in response to request for their evidence audits
When a Massachusetts agency tries to charge a requester a fee for “segregation” (also known as “redacting”), that agency is supposed to cite the applicable exemptions to the Public Records Law. While it’s not uncommon for an agency to cite two, three, or even four exemptions, when Andrew Quemere asked the Massachusetts State Police for its internal evidence audits, the department cited a whopping 17 of them to justify its $615 fee.