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No-Cop-Academy Coalition Files FOIA Suit Against Mayor’s Office

A coalition of groups fighting for police accountability in Chicago will file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office for allegedly refusing to disclose “crucial emails and records” regarding the plans for a new $95 million police academy. “As a librarian and information worker who believes that people have the right to access and scrutinize city plans involving their communities, I’m dismayed to see that the Mayor’s Office continues to prioritize secrecy regarding a plan that will have a substantial impact on Black communities across Chicago,” said Erin Glasco, one of the individuals filing the suit on behalf of No Cop Academy, in a press release. Glasco and Debbie Southorn, members of the coalition that’s made up of dozens of community groups opposing the academy on grounds that the money should instead be invested in resources for communities of color, say that they filed numerous FOIA requests requesting communications from the Mayor’s Office, as well as other parties including the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, the Office of Alderwoman Emma Mitts, and the Department of Planning and Development. They say that while some information has been shared, other critical information has not, and that some of the documents released show evidence that planning for the academy began some four months before the Department of Justice report on the Chicago Police was released. “The Mayor’s refusal to provide full and complete information to the #NoCopAcademy campaign about developing a $95 million police training academy is a clear violation of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act,” said Shubra Ohri of the People’s Law Office, one of the attorney’s and plaintiff’s in the suit.

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