Police Email: “The File Burn Will Be Tomorrow”
And LL thought he had trouble getting Freedom of Information Act requests answered.
An email obtained by LL suggests that records set on fire last Friday at the fire department's training academy may include records that the Fraternal Order of Police union had requested through a FOIA request.
A deputy director of the department's recruitment bureau wrote to his staff on May 17 that there was to be a "file burn" the next day and the staff should get the items ready that they wanted destroyed. (See the email below.)
The next day, a fire engine company was called to the training academy to put out three burning dumpsters and an abandoned car that had been set on fire. The firefighters noticed what looked like personnel records of firefighters and police officers in the blazing rubble. Police and fire union officials asked the city's Office of Inspector General yesterday to investigate.
The FOP and city officials have long butted heads over recruitment and retention issues. Last fall, Gray announced he'd found extra money to hire 300 new police officers, the first new cops in a while. In February, the FOP filed a FOIA asking for records related to MPD's recruitment efforts.
When the city didn't produce the records, the FOP sued the District. The date of that lawsuit: May 14—three days before the email went out to recruitment staff telling them to get their records ready for burning. Assistant Chief Patrick Burke was copied on that email.
An MPD spokeswoman today referred LL to a response the department issued yesterday, saying the department is investigating and would also cooperate with the OIG.
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