According to the State Freedom of Information Law, the police are required to provide certain information to the press if they file the proper paperwork and wait patiently. But it looks like the NYPD doesn't really like revealing all their secrets, and now the New York Times is suing them for repeatedly delaying or denying their requests for information. David E. McCraw, a vice president and assistant general counsel of The New York Times Company tells, well, the Times, “We’ve become increasingly concerned over the last two years about a growing lack of transparency at the NYPD. Information that was once released is now withheld. Disclosures that could be made quickly are put on hold for months."
In the suit filed with the State Supreme Court in Manhattan yesterday, the paper asks for a judicial order requiring the police to turn over the information and preventing them "from continuing its pattern and practice of violating" the Freedom of Information Law. But the NYPD says slow service is just how they roll! Spokesman Paul Browne said, "none of the FOIL requests about which The Times complains, is, in our view, ripe for litigation...These requests are being processed by the NYPD in accordance with controlling law."
The Times claims that the NYPD has been reluctant to give information to anyone, even the state. The NYPD reportedly admitted last month that they had not sent the state statistics for minor crime since 2002, and that (surprise!) stop and frisk data was only reported "sporadically" from 2003 to 2007.
FOIL states "that a free society is maintained when government is responsive and responsible to the public, and when the public is aware of governmental actions. The more open a government is with its citizenry, the greater the understanding and participation of the public in government." However, agencies have the right to deny access to records for a slew of reasons, including if revealing would "interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings," if they are certain "inter-agency or intra-agency materials" or if they "reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures." So that basically leaves the crime stats they have on their website, right?