Nonprofit’s Lawsuit Seeks Access to Baltimore Police Records

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A lawsuit recently filed by a Baltimore nonprofit alleges the city department that handles police records is improperly shielding police misconduct documents.

The suit brought by the transparency advocacy group Open Justice Baltimore and two journalists alleges the Baltimore Law Department has engaged in a “pattern and practice” of obstructing the release of the records, The Daily Record reported Friday.

The complaint alleges the department has ignored requests and deadlines, refused to consider fee waiver requests, demanded huge fees in exchange for public records and offered information in unusable formats, according to the newspaper.

The lawsuit claims that in one case, after requesting officer misconduct files, Open Justice Baltimore was told it needed to pay more than $1.3 million for access.

Mayor Brandon Scott’s office told TV station WJZ it was aware of the lawsuit but had not yet received the complaint.

“The City and BPD are committed to transparency and compliance with the (Maryland Public Information Act),” a spokesperson for Scott said. “Once the Law Department is able to review, it will respond to the Complaint in court in accordance with the judicial process.”