NYPD deny FOIL request seeking basic information, receive "F" for transparency

By LOUIS FLORES

The New York Police Department, or NYPD, was found to have a failed a basic test of transparency when it denied a request filed under the state's Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL, earning the embattled law enforcement agency an "F" grade for transparency.

The findings were made by a joint FOIL investigation conducted by the transparency Web site MuckRock and the news publication The New York World.  The joint investigation looked at 86 New York state and municipal agencies.

The NYPD improbably denied a basic FOIL request seeking only a listing of employees, alleging in its denial that the information being sought was information that was not in the "possession, custody, or control" of the law enforcement agency, according to a report written by Shawn Musgrave and Jenny Zou on the MuckRock Web site.

A request made by Progress Queens to the NYPD's office of the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information for comment was not immediately answered.  If a response is received, then that information will appear in a subsequent report.

The NYPD's poor showing of transparency follows reports that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) will now intercede in every FOIL request filed with a municipal agency that may reflect poorly on City Hall in an effort to prioritize the administration's political relations with voters over the public's right to know.

In 2014, the de Blasio administration denied an "extensive" FOIL request filed by The New York Observer seeking records relating to the de Blasio administration's alleged involvement in thwarting the arrest and detention of a key political supporter, the Bishop Orlando Findlayter.  The improbable denial of that FOIL request followed a report published by The Wall Street Journal that administration officials had sent e-mails to NYPD officials seeking to intervene on behalf of Bishop Findlayter.  In spite of reports of the existence of e-mails, the de Blasio administration denied the FOIL request, saying that there were no "responsive records," giving the impression that the administration was seeking preferential treatment for politically-connected supporters.