Today we received an interesting package from the City of Richmond, hand delivered to our door.
The documents within informed us about a court case in the works (“The Chief of Police Bryan Norwood and The City of Richmond v. Mo Karn”), and include an:
“Emergency Motion for Protective Order and to Compel the Return of Tactical Information and to Prevent the Disclosure of Said Information on behalf of Plaintiffs Chief of Police Bryan Norwood and The City of Richmond”
You can see the documents here (they are almost identical):
- Emergency Motion for Protective Order by Richmond Police Department V. Mo Karn
- Complaint by Chief of Police Bryan Norwood And The City of Richmond V.Mo Karn
What it boils down to is they’re trying to sue Mo Karn, saying some of the police documents we received via the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) are documents they shouldn’t have sent us, specifically ones including “tactical plans”. They are going to attempt to get an order “(A) compelling the return of certain exempt information, (B) preventing the disclosure of this information to the general public, (C) enjoining the defendant from publicizing this information, and (D) granting such other relief as the Court deems appropriate.”
The first reason stated for this in the Emergency Motion is the most obvious:
“1. Defendant Mo Karn is a known and admitted anarchist. See generally http://anarchymo.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/foia-rocks“
It goes on to detail most of the mundanely routine email conversation between Mo and the Angela Harrison (Associate General Counsel, although titled in the case documents as a “Program Manager”) of the RPD, to whom our FOIA request was directed. When she mentioned that certain documents included tactical plans, Mo stated very clearly, “I understand that tactical plans may not be subject to FOIA. However if any of the manuals and orders I have requested include tactical plans I would expect that tactical plans sections to be blacked out, but the non-tactical information surrounding them in the manual to still be included.”
In the official response to the FOIA request, the bit about redacting information goes thusly: “in order to completely and properly respond without negatively impacting public safety and our intense operational responsibilities, the Department is entitled to and elects to utilize seven additional work days to respond”.
Well, despite addressing those concerns and the seven days the RPD had to go over the documents, apparently we got some information they thought we shouldn’t have anyway. The Program Manager’s “production of these documents exceeded the authority granted to her,” and she sent them “without first obtaining permission to do so from Chief Norwood.”
Unfortunately that means not shit to us. If the RPD feels they shouldn’t have sent out these documents, maybe they shouldn’t have done so. The idea that they can sue anybody for having information that they gave us is utterly ridiculous.
That said, the list of documents that the RPD feels you shouldn’t read include the following:
- Emergency Operations Plan (Part 2)
- Canine Unit
- Crowd Management Team
- Focus Mission Team
- Homeland Security and Criminal Intelligence
- Mobile Command Center
- Mounted Unit
- Traffic Enforcement Unit
- Police Cyclist
- Police Segways
Sadly, we already uploaded ALL of these ostensibly public documents (linked above) prior to learning about their illicit nature. We no longer have the ability to remove them from the internet, or the public domain. We encourage you to look through these documents and more on our Richmond Police Department Documents page.
For our part we’re seeking legal counsel on the issue. If it ever goes to court we promise you’ll hear about it.