LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition filed a public records lawsuit against the city, challenging the Los Angeles Police Department's refusal to release what it called basic personnel information and announced it will publicly share further details Friday.
According to a coalition statement, the LAPD refuses to release basic information about its officers, including their height, even though that information is apparent and measurable in public, but which the department has claimed is "an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."
Along with the lawsuit, the coalition is launching Watch the Watchers, a first-of-its-kind website that will publish headshots of a police agency's entire list of sworn personnel. The coalition says the records were obtained from LAPD through public records requests, including names, serial numbers, ethnicities, genders, areas, ranks and hiring dates.
"This tool will boost our efforts to identify the cops who brutalize our communities, said General Dogon, a human rights organizer with the Los Angeles Community Action Network. "A decade ago, during our successful fight to end LAPD's Safer Cities initiative campaign of mass arrests in Skid Row, we made a booklet of officer photos. This new website will make it easier to document police terror across the city."
The coalition's lawsuit is part of its ongoing efforts to make public records involving law enforcement practices more accessible and to assist the public in research in documenting state violence. The case marks the eighth public records lawsuit Stop LAPD Spying Coalition has filed against the city.
"It's absurd that we need to sue about this," said Shakeer Rahaman, an attorney representing the coalition. "We should not have to waste legal resources on arguing that information we can all see with our eyes is public, but LAPD is getting more and more brazen in its suppression of public records."
A news conference by the organization was scheduled Friday at police headquarters.