Federal court allows New York police to keep convention surveillance records secret

The New York City Police Department won a victory as the 2nd Circuit panel ruled that it did not have to release police surveillance records gathered before the 2004 Republican National Convention. The panel found in this case that police privilege trumped the public’s right to know. -db

June 9, 2010
By Nick Divito

(CN) – New York City can keep secret 1,800 pages of undercover police surveillance records gathered in the days leading up to the 2004 Republican National Convention, the 2nd Circuit ruled.

In reversing a lower court’s ruling, the panel found that law enforcement’s privilege is more important than the need for the public to pore over documents.

“We are called upon to examine the circumstances in which the so-called ‘law enforcement privilege’ must yield to the needs of a party seeking discovery in a civil action,” the panel ruled.

The documents detail how the New York Police Department used undercover cops from around the world to get information on those planning to demonstrate in the days leading up to the convention, The New York Times reported.

Protesters who were arrested, detained and fingerprinted after demonstrating sued, and demanded the city turn over the reports.

A federal judge last year prevented the city from trying to block the release of the documents.

Copyright 2010 Courthouse News Service