August 10, 2017
Ferguson City Clerk Octavia Pittman and city staff
On behalf of the USA TODAY NETWORK and under state Public Records Law, I am requesting copies of the following public records:
Police officer separation agreements from the last 10 years (Jan. 1, 2007 to present) – Written forms or summaries that describe the terms under which a Ferguson police officer left your city. This should include the name (and if possible rank and DOB) of the officer. We are requesting only the final order/terms, not the entire file. Examples would include an officer who agrees to retire/resign in lieu of termination, or in exchange for an investigation against him or her being dropped. Alternatively, this request could be fulfilled by a list of officers who separated from the police department, with date and separation type (including resignation while under investigation.) This includes any records retained by the police department as well as those retained by another municipal department.
Out-of-court settlements involving police officer misconduct from the last 10 years (Jan. 1, 2007 to present) – Written settlements that set forth the terms under which a lawsuit or threatened lawsuit involving a law enforcement officer was resolved. We need only the final order/statement of terms, not the entire file. We DO NOT need information on settlements that are exclusively related to traffic crashes or jail conditions/employees. Settlements we are seeking include but are not limited to allegations of officer misconduct, improper use of force and abuse of authority. A spreadsheet/log detailing the name of the officer, the date, the amount of the settlement and a summary of the facts would suffice in place of individual agreements. This includes any records retained by the police department as well as those retained by another municipal department.
Police officer internal affairs logs from the last 10 years (Jan. 1, 2007 to present) – Logs that identify the name and title of the law enforcement officer investigated and the date, nature and outcome of the investigation. We ask that you release all details included in this log, including as an explanation of the allegations and the investigative and disciplinary outcomes. A list of officers suspended or terminated would fulfill this request if it includes the name and rank of the officer, the nature of the alleged misconduct, the resolution/discipline and the date.
The “Brady list,” “Giglio list,” “potential impeachment disclosure list,” or any other record(s) maintained setting forth information on all law enforcement officers in your agency whose involvement in a criminal proceeding must be disclosed as potentially exculpatory evidence in accordance with Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 450 U.S. 150 (1972). Where possible, please include all information on these officers as reflected in your list, including: the officer’s full name, agency of employment, date of inclusion on the list, and description of the reason for inclusion on the list.
I ask that you release records as each becomes available for public disclosure. Please do not temporarily withhold one record that has been approved for public disclosure because you require additional time to review others. We also ask that wherever possible these records be provided electronically and sent by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through a cloud-based file storage system such as DropBox or Google Drive. By electronically we mean in their original form (so if a document was originally created in Excel, we want it in that format, not in a PDF).
We respectfully request that any fees be waived since the records will be used for newsgathering purposes and ultimately released to the public in some form to shed light on the operations of government. If the agency expects to require payment for copies, record location or other elements of the request, please provide a fee estimate before proceeding so that I may weigh the cost and consider my options.
If the agency claims any portion of the above public records are exempt from disclosure under the Law, in writing please (1) identify which portion or portions it claims are exempt and the legal provisions it contends apply; (2) set forth the reasons for its conclusion that such portion or portions are exempt; and (3) release the remainder of such records, redacting only the portion or portions it claims are exempt.
Thanks for your time and consideration. If you have any questions, please feel free email or call.