Court Orders R.I. Police to Release Video Camera Surveillance Policies Requested by ACLU

October 30, 2001 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
Rhode Island ACLU
Media Contact
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PROVIDENCE, R.I. –A State Superior Court Judge Vincent Ragosta today ordered the police department here to provide the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island with copies of its policies governing the use of surveillance cameras in police cars and in public locations throughout the city.

In granting the motion, the judge rejected the city’s proposal to have the records declared secret.

“”We are very pleased with the Judge’s decision,”” said Staci L. Sawyer, an ACLU volunteer attorney. “”The court today recognized that these policies are a matter of public record and the police department has no basis for withholding the release of those records.””

The ACLU had filed an open records request for the policies back in May 2000, but the police refused to release any documents. The police department continued with its refusal even after acknowledging that it provided a Providence Journal newspaper reporter with its “”cruiser camera”” policy for a story released in July of this year. The story outlined the procedures for using the car cameras.

Today’s case is the latest in a string of lawsuits against the Providence Police Department in which the ACLU has prevailed. This decision is the third in two years in which the ACLU has successfully sued the Providence Police for unlawfully withholding public documents.

To read a news release about the filing of this lawsuit, go to http://archive.aclu.org/news/2000/n080800b.html.

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