Irving Cops Hiding 100s of Ahmed Emails: No Releasable Records
My curiosity's been piqued by the case of Ahmed Mohamed, the Muslim teenager in Texas becoming a legal and cultural cause celebre due to a homemade clock, especially wanting to see the public records that were created with taxpayers dollars at the Irving, Texas, police department. It was just a hunch that the cops were receiving large amounts of public communications.
I filed a public records request on Friday, Sept. 25th, and today received a four-page response from the Irving police absolving themselves of any governmental duty to release a single public record related to Mohamed's case.
There is no valid reason for Irving, Texas, to hide all these emails. The cops say they can without _every_ communication they received, whether containing a threat or not because some of the emails they got were hostile toward cops.
We cannot accept the department claim of "hundreds of emails, telephone calls, tweets and facebook posts, a number of which impliedly [sic] conveyed threats (e.g. a picture of a sniper rifle with the annotation 'time to go pig hunting')" at face value.
Specific number of emails received, which is what I requested and didn't want a damn bit of information about telephone calls, tweets or facebook posts, are need from the cops. Exactly how many came in and even if hostile emails were sent, they do not give the police the privilege of withholding any and all emails with _no_ threats.
The Irving police claim no info, not event the names of the officers involved in the matter or the department's brass, is releasable but on page one of their letter to the Texas attorney general and doubling as their brush-off to FOIA requesters, or even one email of any nature, the cops print my name and email address along with the same info of other requesters in their response. So much for blanket confidentiality.
Besides myself, Avi Selk of the Dallas Morning News and Justin Moyer of the Washington Post, and seven other folks wanna see Irving's public police records on Mohamed.
Regarding withholding files related directly to Mohamed, the cops note that confidentiality bar release of those files to the public, however, I hope and would expect Mohamed and his legal representatives that have made a request to Irving for the records.
On the matter of no records releasable on Irving police personnel, the cops cite the inclusion of personal info such as Social Security number and date of birth, and home addresses. Get a Sharpie and simply redact that info and release reports on the cops pertaining to their conduct while working for and getting paid by the public.
Let the sun shine in on Irving's police department!