The Baltimore Sun has sued the city police department, alleging that the agency “routinely ignores” requests for public information and demands high fees for records when pressed to provide them. The newspaper charged that the department ignored seven applications by reporters to see records, from a file on a closed homicide case to a list of lawsuits filed against the police.
Pressed by Sun attorneys, the agency responded in June – a year after the oldest request had been made – by directing the newspaper to forward the requests to commanding officers or other agencies, the lawsuit charges. The department warned that it would charge fees for the information and would not let reporters inspect the records first to see what copies would be needed. One such charge: $1,250 for a year of police reports about rapes. The Sun declined to pay the fee and has not obtained the information. Nathan Siegel, an attorney for The Sun, said access to city police records has deteriorated in the past year.