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Thursday
Aug142014

ACLU Files Lawsuits to Make Ferguson Incident Report Public, Allow Recording of Police

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(FERGUSON, Mo.) -- The American Civil Liberties Union filed a pair of lawsuits on Thursday that aims to make public the name of the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown on Saturday and make the protest situation in Ferguson more safe.

In the first lawsuit, the ACLU of Missouri urged the St. Louis County Police Department to release a copy of the incident report for Brown's shooting under the Missouri Sunshine Law. The law, according to the Missouri Attorney General's Office, aims to represent the "embodiment of Missouri's commitment to openness in government." Under the law, matters of public record are considered, with few exceptions, to be transparent and open to the public.

The ACLU said that its request for the incident report "is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operation or activities" of the St. Louis County Police Department.

Included in the filing is a response that the ACLU says it received from the department, in which it was told records could not be released due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The second lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mustafa Hussein, who has, according to the filing, "recorded the interactions of the police and demonstrators on public streets and sidewalks within the City of Ferguson and who would like to do so in the future." The suit asks a judge to end the police policy of "demanding and ordering members of the media and public to stop recording the police acting in their official duty on public streets and sidewalks" and declare such a policy a violation of constitutional rights.

That lawsuit names the city of Ferguson, St. Louis County and the Missouri State Highway Patrol as defendants.


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