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Attorney General Nessel Files Amicus Brief in Support of Transparency for Law Enforcement Organizations

LANSING Attorney General Dana Nessel filed an amicus brief today in the Court of Claims in the case of Invisible Institute and Detroit Metro Times v Michigan State Police. The lawsuit, filed under Michigan's Freedom of Information Act, seeks disclosure of the names of certified Michigan police officers. Nessel filed her brief in support of the plaintiffs seeking disclosure.   

The plaintiffs are not seeking sensitive information, such as officers' home addresses or the identification of officers serving in undercover roles. 

“Transparency is vital to accountability, and to law enforcement’s commitment to serving their communities. To that end, it’s important that the Michigan State Police are held to the same FOIA requirements as other state agencies,” said Nessel.

The brief notes that more than 30 states other than Michigan make public the names of their law enforcement officers, most in response to Freedom of Information Act requests or lawsuits like this one. Despite MSP's brief claims that releasing these names would endanger officers, none of the other states to release this information has seen an increase in targeting of police officers.

The Department of Attorney General also represents the Michigan State Police in the lawsuit, and the Department erected a conflict wall within the office to allow the Attorney General to take the contrary position. 

Oral argument is expected before Judge Christopher Yates on April 9.


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