Keegan Stephan v. New York City Police Department, et al.

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Yesterday, through my attorneys Gideon Orion Oliver and Elena L. Cohen, I filed the below Article 78 Petition requesting that the court order the NYPD to disclose records it refused to produce in response to our Freedom Of Information requests relating to its military-grade acoustic weapons (LRADs), which it used to injure Black Lives Matter activists (including me) on December 6, 2014.

We also requested that the court order the NYPD to accept and respond to FOIL requests by e-mail going forward. The law has required the NYPD to do so since 2006, but the NYPD has routinely and willfully violated this law, delaying (and often preventing) the disclosure of information that is presumed to be pubic under the law, including in this case.

As stated in the petition, § 89(3)(b) of the Freedom Of Information Law, which was enacted in 2006, clearly states that:

All entities shall, provided such entity has reasonable means available, accept requests for records submitted in the form of electronic mail and shall respond to such requests by electronic mail, using forms, to the extent practicable, consistent with the form or forms developed by the committee on open government pursuant to subdivision one of this section and provided that the written requests do not seek a response in some other form.

Indeed, in response to a request for an advisory opinion in this matter, the New York State Committee On Open Government wrote that “if an agency … has the ability to receive and respond to requests via email, it is required to do so” (Exhibit O).

I believe that the NYPD must stop breaking the law and start accepting and responding to FOIL requests by e-mail. Doing so would conform with the letter and the spirit of the Freedom of Information Law, while their continued refusal to do so obfuscates the process of obtaining government records presumed to be public under the law.

I also believe the NYPD must disclose all its records relating to its military-grade acoustic weapons, which it has used to seriously injure people engaged in first amendment protected speech.

Please read the full press release, Article 78 Petition, and Brief In Support of the petition here:

Press release

Article 78 Petition, with Exhibits

Brief In Support of Petition

Also published on Medium.

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