Chicago Reader Reporter Sues City Over FOIA Rejections

The Chicago Reader‘s Mick Dumke this week filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court against the city, Mayor Daley and two Freedom of Information officers with the Chicago Police Department after they allegedly rejected his legitimate requests for information, the Huffington Post reports.

The lawsuit, which alleges the defendants are violating Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act law, lists three specific times Dumke requested information from the city and was denied, including requests for the mayor’s appointment calendar and schedule, for detailed information about Chicago’s homicides, and for information on an outside firm’s report analyzing the police department’s operations.

“Though a new mayor will take office next month, this is an issue that transcends personalities or individuals,” Dumke tells HuffPo. “So we thought it was important to continue to press for accountability. We believe the public has the right to know what sort of meetings are happening in a public office and what elected officials are doing with our time. The city has offered various reasons why this shouldn’t and can’t be so.”

A mayoral spokesperson tells HuffPo that Dumke’s schedule request was rejected for being too large, while police officials say his request for homicide information would jeopardize the safety of the victims’ family members, and his request for information about the report was “burdensome.”

Dumke’s suit, which was filed with assistance from Northwestern University’s Bluhm Legal Clinic, asks that the records be turned over, as well as any records pertaining to how the agencies and individuals handled Dumke’s FOIA requests. It also seeks reimbursement of costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees related to the case.

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