Friday, August 27, 2010

City Finds New Way to Delay CPRB Request

Despite saying that it would turn over all the requested documents, the City of Pittsburgh has once again argued that it cannot give the Citizen Police Review Board what it wants. The board has asked for arrest reports and other documents related to police staffing and assignments during the G20 Summit in September of 2009. The board says it needs the documents to do its job. The city has argued alternately in the past that the data would put national security at risk, that it would jeopardize its efforts to defend itself against litigation, and that the board is not entitled to the documents without a specific citizen complaint being filed. It turned over heavily redacted documents in May and last month said all documents would be forthcoming. Yesterday, the city went before Judge R. Stanton Wettick and argued that it could not hand over the documents due to state laws prohibiting the CPRB from seeing the information. CPRB attorney Hugh McGough says the city does not fall under the Criminal History Record Information Act because it operates under a home rule charter. In fact, he notes that the city’s solicitor under Mayor Tom Murphy specifically laid out tight privacy rules and procedures that should be used in freely handing over the documents. In past investigations the city has made the non-redacted document available to the CPRB without question. Judge Wettick has not set a time line for making a ruling on the city’s latest argument, but McGough points out that the judge took ten days to rule in the last instance.

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