DC Lawyers Claim “Watchlist” Is Vindicated Because It Was Unbiased

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(InformingNews.com) – The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) faces accusations of keeping a watchlist of names for officials critical of its operations who submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. DC Attorney General Karl Racine requests the dismissal of the case. The plaintiff upholds the validity of the claims.

Amy Phillips alleges the MPD used the watchlist to set aside people’s FOIA requests and require them to undergo a special review process. She contends anyone on the list would have a harder time getting information or avoiding rejections.

Phillips said she learned about the list from a former MPD inspector, Vendetta Parker, in 2020. Parker told her she had to notify a chief officer when receiving a request from someone on the list.

Racine said the list was not biased and therefore not a basis for the claims alleging requests faced increased scrutiny. He added that any delays or denials occurred naturally and were not part of a pattern. Racine maintained that it’s normal for high-volume FOIA requests to take longer than other types of inquiries, and the MPD adjusts responses based on the circumstances of the request.

Racine holds that Phillips failed to provide adequate proof of her claims, and Parker’s story that she had to notify a superior is standard protocol for all FOIA requests. He explains the MPD handled all information inquiries as quickly as possible.

Phillips’ attorneys note her case is about delaying FOIA requests to withhold information or prevent public criticism of the MPD, not just the presence and use of a watchlist. So, were DC officials really struggling with high-volume requests, or did they purposely create delays?

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