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City of Champaign continues to stymie N-G FOIA request

An interesting article from Patrick Wade in today’s News-Gazette:

The News-Gazette has refiled a Freedom of Information request, asking the city of Champaign for names of police officers against whom citizens have filed complaints during the past five years.

City attorneys contend — contrary to a ruling by the state’s public access counselor that was more than a year in coming — that they need not provide the names of officers who had complaints files against them. Since the ruling by the PAC took longer than 60 days to arrive, it is an advisory opinion and does not bind the City to any action.

[Deputy City Attorney Tricia] Crowley wrote that releasing complaints filed against officers who were later found to have done their jobs properly could have serious implications for the individual officers and the department as a whole. Those complaints could be used against officers who have, in reality, done no wrong, and it could create a perception of the department as the oppressor rather than the protector, she wrote.

I’m not sure why refiling the request would lead to any hope of reaching a different outcome, but best of luck to the News-Gazette in their quest.

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