Thursday, February 16, 2012

NYPD response to FOIL request on information re Sunny Sheu death


Below is the official response, from Sergeant James Russo the NYPD F.O.I.L. Unit to The Blackstar News FOIL request of December 2, 2010. 

The response, dated December 8th, acknowledges receipt of the request and states that the requested documents "may be" in the possession of the NYPD. Indeed, as official records of NYPD activities they are required by law to be in the possession of the NYPD. 

Under NY FOIL law allows government agencies are allowed TWO OPTIONS ONLY in responding to a FOIL request: They can either;

a) furnished the requested material within TEN DAYS of the request, OR; 

b) withhold the requested material in accordance with the specific exemptions cited in FOIL law. 

(In the latter case, the decision to withhold may be contested with an official FOIL appeal) 

In violation of FOIL law, the NYPD did not obey either of these options. Instead, they state that they will require THREE MONTHS to decide whether all or some of the documents shall be furnished or not, at which time they will notify the Blackstar News of their decision, and their legal basis for withholding any or all of the requested documents.

- This action is ILLEGAL, and could have in itself been the grounds for a lawsuit, but in the spirit of cooperation, the Blackstar News graciously elected to grant the NYPD the three month grace period.)

HOWEVER, after the three month grace period, the NYPD RENEGED on their promise, and simply withheld all the requested documents with no notice regarding legal basis thereof. 

The Blackstar News wrote letters to the NYPD FOIL officer and to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly demanding that the NYPD obey NY FOIL law and either furnish the material or explain why they will not. 

Neither the NYPD FOIL office nor Ray Kelly responded to these letters. Instead they continued to flagrantly ignore and violate NY FOIL law. 

Robert Freeman, the director of the NY State Committee on Open Government determined that the failure of the NYPD to respond constitutes a defacto denial to furnish information under FOIL law and instructed the Blackstar News to file an official appeal of this denial. 

The NYPD and Commissioner Ray Kelly have ignored the appeal.

The Blackstar News is preparing a law suit to compel the NYPD to comply with FOIL law. 

Having passed the deadline for response under FOIL law, the NYPD is NO LONGER ALLOWED to cite ANY exemption for ANY of the requested material.

They MUST now furnish the requested material, or be punished to the full extent of the law. 

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