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Government Your Rights Online

Report Claims a Third of FOIA Requests To the NYPD Go Unanswered 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-information dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, who shared a Pulitzer last year as part of the Associated Press team covering the NYPD's surveillance activity, have summed it up perfectly: The NYPD doesn't answer document requests. "For the most part, they don't respond," Apuzzo told the Huffington Post. 'Even the NSA responds.' It's not just reporters who've noticed. New York City Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio gave the police department a failing grade in an April report based on its dismal response rate to Freedom of Information requests. By de Blasio's analysis, nearly a third of requests submitted to NYPD go unanswered."
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Report Claims a Third of FOIA Requests To the NYPD Go Unanswered

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @06:13PM (#45331211)

    LAPD and NYPD are locked in an epic struggle to see which department can be a bigger waste of taxpayer money.

    • LAPD and NYPD are locked in an epic struggle to see which department can be a bigger waste of taxpayer money.

      Don't forget SFPD! I've been trying to get *any* record of a particular arrest from 1986. The guy plead guilty too (the he really did it way, with a really good lawyer, not the way we usually read about) and I can't even get an answer to my requests using their email, even to the district stations.

      • by brunes69 (86786)

        Just a thought, but I think you would want to be going through the court to get that information, not the police.

        • Just a thought, but I think you would want to be going through the court to get that information, not the police.

          Trying to figure out that minefield too. It took a while to get through the federal system (SFPD performed the arrest with the FBI, he was housed in the Oakland City Jail until his federal bail hearing). Now I have a bunch of good info, but the earliest document is five days after his arrest.

        • Just a thought, but I think you would want to be going through the court to get that information, not the police.

          Slashdot is magic: From Oakland - "Additional time is required to answer your public records request. We need to search for, collect, or examine a large number of records (Government Code Section 6253(c)(2)). "

          First answer I got of any kind from any LEO in California.

    • Re:How low can we go (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday November 04, 2013 @09:16PM (#45332483)

      That's true of just about every department in the country. I think most people in this country have ridiculous illusions about the quality and skill of our police force. Reality hits them square in the face when they actually have to call the police. My neighbors home was burglarized recently, the police showed up, told him there wasn't much they could do and left. They didn't even ask any of the neighbors (like me) if we'd seen anything. No investigation at all. Get pulled over with a Marijuana pipe in your car and you'll have 3 squad cars on the scene within minutes.

      • ..."No investigation at all. Get pulled over with a Marijuana pipe in your car and you'll have 3 squad cars on the scene within minutes."

        Wouldn't this be more an example of a misappropriation of resources than an example of the lack of quality and skill exhibited by our police force?

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          the lack of quality and skill exhibited by our police force

          The problem with policing is well, the pool of candidates is pretty small. Everytime you hear a call for "more police on the streets", the question you should be asking is "where are they going to find those people?". Most departments are understaffed, and the necessity to hire means the standards of hiring get *really* low.

          Because face it - it's not a good job at all - you face all sorts of lowlifes all the time. This already screens out the good c

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Holy shit, they actually came to his house? The last time my apartment was broken into, the guy on the phone just told me "tough luck" and ended the call.

      • Burglary is a low-priority crime. Nobody got hurt, the amount of property lost was small, and there's the redistribution of wealth angle to consider. What were the cops supposed to do? It's not like TV where they send in CSI to do DNA samples and photo enhancement. If the burglar doesn't know the victim then it's impossible to solve.
        • by operagost (62405)
          A likely non-expert, the original poster, gave one obvious thing they could have done: ask the neighbors if they'd seen anything. Heck, one of the neighbors could have done it, and accidentally given that away while speaking with the cop. We can't allow our police to decide which laws are worth enforcing. The people have a right to their property, and if the police won't help protect it then the people are going to take that task into their own hands-- and it won't be pretty.
      • That about sums it up they are pretty worthless and only seem to do the easy work that gets good headlines. While I was in college my sister had a boy friend who had a number of open warrants out for his arrest who also liked to beat women. I was house sitting and the worthless local police wouldn't come and pick him up but a couple days later I managed to get the county Sheriff to come and pick him up. Unfortunatly my sister was too afraid to press charges for the physical abuse so he got less time that he
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how many of their 911 emergency calls go unanswered?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder how many of their 911 emergency calls go unanswered?

      Since they won't answer that FOIA request I guess we'll never know.

      • I wonder how many of their 911 emergency calls go unanswered?

        Since they won't answer that FOIA request I guess we'll never know.

        Well, if you put in three FOIA requests then maybe one of them might be answered, if I read this right.

  • Wrong Subject (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @06:16PM (#45331233)

    Should read:

    "NYPD ignores the law"

    since they're required to respond to these requests.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What are ya gonna do, call the police?

  • FOIL (Score:5, Informative)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Monday November 04, 2013 @06:24PM (#45331293)

    Technically, there are no FIOA requests answered by any New York government office since the equivalent state law is abbreviated FOIL.

    • While 1/3 go unanswered, that means a vary healthy majority are answered. Seriously, for a paramilitary organization such as the NYPD, 2/3 is not bad.

      Certainly there is room for improvement, and it's probably a staffing issue.

      • by Threni (635302)

        Is replying optional? Or is there some sort of requirement?

        • Is replying optional? Or is there some sort of requirement?

          You know the score, pal! If you're not a cop, you're "little people."

      • by s.petry (762400)

        Of course we hope that staffing is the issue, but as the guy once said "Never assume". Considering that NYPD had policies like Stop&Frisk, it could very well be that they have people holding offices that just don't give a shit about the law. That lack of regard tends to trickle down to the people they hire.

    • If anyone is wondering, he's not making a joke about foiling transparent government. It stands for Freedom of Information Law [ny.gov]
    • by hawk (1151)

      Nah, it was the writers' math teachers that were foiled . . . mixing "for the most point, they don't respond" with "nearly a third" not answered . . . so for the most part they *do* respond.

      hawk

  • What is printed above the information desk of the NYPD

  • File 13, the circular file.

    Sent to recycling before processing.

    Why are you surprised?

  • ... this is so if you don't count, "You talkin' to me?" as a valid answer.

  • It's time to bare them if they do. NYPD is pretty famous for stonewalling on certain issues. It's time that wall fell on a few of them.

  • by J'raxis (248192) on Monday November 04, 2013 @08:40PM (#45332301) Homepage

    In New Hampshire, our state equivalent to FOIA, RSA 91-A [state.nh.us], requires that a government entity respond within 5 days to a right-to-know request or they can be hauled into court. RSA 91-A:4, IV. They don't have to provide the information within 5 days, but they at least have to respond saying they have received the request and either say how long it will take to comply with the request, or explain---under a very short list of enumerated exemptions in RSA 91-A:5---why the request is being denied. Denials themselves can of course be appealed. RSA 91-A:7. And RSA 91-A:8 authorizes the courts to award attorneys fees to the complainant if they're successful in demonstrating the agency violated the right-to-know law. Wilful violations by individual bureaucrats can even render them personally liable for all the court costs. RSA 91-A:8, IV.

    New York's FOIA law doesn't have remedies similar to this?

    • I just skimmed New York's statue is similar. New York just ignores the law http://www.ojjpac.org/sanctuary.asp [ojjpac.org] .
      They don't follow laws, they don't try to change laws that they think should be changed, they just ignore them.
      The majority of New York voters support ignoring the law.

      • by J'raxis (248192)

        I don't think you can really compare the two. One, in the case of a right-to-know law, the government ignoring it is most likely not the will of the people; in the second case, it sounds like it is doing the exact opposite, following the will of the majority of the people. Two, again in the case of an RTK law, the government ignoring it sounds like pretty blatant self-serving corruption---what kinds of abuse of the citizenry are they hiding by not responding to FOIA requests served upon police departments?-

        • > There's probably also a constitutional argument to be made in the case of the IIRIRA. Practically every policy the Federal
          > Government tries to force on the states now is an unconstitutional overreach of their explicitly enumerated powers.

          Most are unconstitutional overreach. The Constitution grants only ~18 powers to the federal government.
          Regulating immigration happens to be one thing the federal government can and arguably must do. (Consider the effect of article IV otherwise).

          One of the enumerate

          • by J'raxis (248192)

            The Feds can regulate immigration, but since general police power isn't an enumerated power, they can't actually police immigrants. In other words, the Feds can define "citizen," "permanent resident," &c., and they can grant privileges to each of these terms based on whatever criteria they come up with, but they don't actually have the constitutional power to send enforcers into the States and apprehend so-called "illegal" immigrants. The most they can do is deny such people recognition as U.S. citizens

    • The actual New York state law: http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/foil2.html#s87 [ny.gov]

      The form to submit with its requirements for the NYPD: http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/legal_matters/dclm_doc_production_foil.shtml [nyc.gov]

  • NYPD is the single most corrupt police department in the united states, they make the LAPD look like honest angels.
    If they were not corrupt they would happily abide by the law and answer these. What are they hiding? It has to be illegal and unethical activities.

  • So two thirds DO get answered? That seems to indicate that "for the most part" they DO respond. By law, three thirds should get answered, but it doesn't seem fair to say "they don't respond."

"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe

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