The New York City Police Department has denied a public records request and subsequent appeal for its Freedom of Information handbook, the Washington Free Beacon reports. MuckRock journalist Shawn Musgrave filed a records request under New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) police department's FOIL handbook, the guide officers use to apply public record law.
The department told Musgrave its Freedom of Information handbook is not covered by FOIL, arguing it is protected under attorney-client privilege. Journalists and transparency advocates who have long complained about the NYPD's culture of secrecy criticized the latest rejection. “What's ludicrous here is that the NYPD is refusing to be open about its own transparency process itself,” Musgrave said. “Even if attorney-client privilege applied here—and I don't believe that it does, not for the department's FOIL handbooks and manuals, at least—department lawyers can absolutely choose to release this basic information. Even the FBI and NSA have released similar documents with minimal redactions.”