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ACLU Sues Boston Police Over Delay In Public Records Request

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The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday filed a public records lawsuit against the Boston Police Department for allegedly failing to respond to requests for information about street-level encounters between officers and civilians since 2010.

The ACLU said it requested the records 11 months ago amid concern nationwide about racially discriminatory police practices. The group said BPD has not asserted any legal basis for withholding the records.

Boston police spokesman James Kenneally told The Associated Press that police have been in touch with the ACLU and "look forward to resolving this issue in the interest of transparency."

The lawsuit follows an ACLU report, released last year, that found alleged racial bias in “field interrogation and observation” (FIO) reports with citizens between 2007 and 2010. The group's analysis found that 63 percent of Boston police encounters over those years were with African-Americans, though just 24 percent of the city’s population was black.

Matt Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, told WBUR that the organization is seeking the newer data. "Our public records request seeks the post-2010 data so that the public can find out whether this racially disparate treatment persisted after 2010," he said.

In response to last year's report, Boston police said then that since 2010, the number of police encounters, or FIO reports, has dropped.

With reporting from the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press

This article was originally published on August 07, 2015.

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