FOIA: Gang Affiliation Data from DC Metropolitan Police Department

This request submitted to the Metropolitan Police Department on Sept 22, 2021 is part of CJP’s much larger effort to track gang affiliation data collection and distribution in the District of Columbia, throughout the state of Maryland, and on the federal level. It is vitally important to shed light on the justice system’s practices around gang affiliation data because there is little to no regulation regarding who gets listed in the databases and with whom this data is shared. This of course then provides a environment where this data gets used for things far beyond the intended purposes with on public input. It our intention through this request and any subsequent litigation that we will uncover what data is collected, why certain individuals are being listed in this database, and who outside the MPD the gang affiliation data is being shared with.

If you live in the District of Columbia and you are concerned that the Metropolitan Police Department may have information about you in their gang database, you can access our automated MPD FOIA Generator here and you can file your own request in just a couple of minutes.

You can find out more information about our requests related to our Gang Affiliation Data Project in here.

FOIA Content

NOTE: I used the web portal to submit this request originally but the space provided is inadequate so it cut off some of our requests. This email contains our entire set of requests. In the web portal our request was assigned tracking # 2021-FOIA-08263.

To: Metropolitan Police Department

Re: Gang Data Affiliation FOIA request
Inspector Vendette Parker
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Room 4153
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Sir or Madam,

Pursuant DC Code Title 2, Chapter 5, Subchapter II, Freedom of Information (“FOIA”), I, Tracy Siska, along with the Chicago Justice Project (the “Project”), respectfully requests copies of the below-listed public records from the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”).

DEFINITIONS

A. Records or Documents

“Record” and/or “Records” means any documents or electronically stored information of any kind—including writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, video recordings, sound recordings, images, databases, and other data or data compilations—stored in any medium from which information can be obtained either directly or, if necessary, after translation by the responding party into a reasonably usable form.

B. Database

“Database” means any collection of data or information that are specially organized for rapid search and retrieval by any electronic device. Databases are structured to facilitate the storage, retrieval, modification, and deletion of data in conjunction with various data-processing operations.

C. Data Dictionary

“Data Dictionary” means a collection of names, definitions, and attributes about data elements that are being used or captured in a database, information system, or part of a research project. A Data Dictionary also provides metadata about data elements.

D. Gang Affiliation

“Gang Affiliation” means the identifying of an individual with an organization, group, or association of people under a common name or symbol.

E. Access (Accessible or any other form we use)

“Access” means the ability to view, obtain, examine, edit, submit, share, or retrieve data.

F. Private Entity

“Private Entity” means any entity that is not a unit of government, including but not limited to a corporation, partnership, company, nonprofit organization, other legal entity, or a natural person.

INSTRUCTIONS

A. The requests below seek only non-privileged data. Please provide all non-privileged tables and fields related to the below requests. The “at a minimum” lists below are intended as a starting point for specificity, but are not exhaustive.

B. All data provided related to individuals should have identifying data such as name, phone number, and/or social security number removed from the data. Home address data should be altered to include only the hundred blocks. As an example, “2004 W. Roscoe St.” would be transformed to “2000 W. Roscoe St.”

C. In any requests regarding data or information shared among MPD and other entities, all responses should be limited to data and information accessible to MPD. The below requests do not seek or require information outside that controlled by or shared with MPD.

D. Where available or obtainable, please provide the requested data, in order of preference, in comma delimited format, comma separated format, or other format common for databases. If necessary, a portable hard drive or other means of transmittal can be provided for the data. In order to ensure a compatible format and minimize exportation burden, I am willing to meet and confer before the data are transmitted.

E. If the MPD decides to withhold any document or information pertinent to the requests made herein, please identify the document or information in as much detail as possible, and describe and detail in specific language why each document or piece of information is being withheld.

F. If any information requested herein is withheld on the basis of a claim of privilege or other protection, then that claim shall be made expressly in a writing that describes the nature of the document(s), information, communications, or things not produced or disclosed, in a manner that will enable an assessment of the applicability of the claimed privilege or protection. With regard to each claim of privilege or protection, the following information should be provided in the response or the objection:

1) The type of Document, e.g., letter or memorandum;

2) General subject matter of the Document;

3) The date of the Document;

4) Such other information as is sufficient to identify the Document for a subpoena duces tecum, including, where appropriate, the author, addressee, and any other recipient of the Document, and, where not apparent, the relationship of the author, addressee, and any other recipient to each other;

5) The nature of the claimed privilege or protection and why it is applicable; and

6) If applicable, the litigation or trial of which the document was created in anticipation.

G. If any Document identified herein has been lost, discarded, or destroyed, such Document(s) should be identified as completely as possible, including as to each such Document: its date, general nature (e.g., letter, memorandum, email, telegram, telex, photograph, computer printout, etc.), subject matter, each author and/or originator, each person indicated as an addressee or copy recipient, and its former custodian(s). In addition, as to each such Document, the following information should be supplied:

1) Date of disposal, loss, or destruction;

2) Manner of disposal, loss, or destruction;

3) Reason for disposal or destruction, or any explanation of loss;

4) Persons authorizing the disposal or destruction;

5) Persons having knowledge of the disposal, destruction, or loss; and

6) Persons who destroyed, lost, or disposed of the Document or thing.

 

SPECIFIC REQUESTS

REQUEST A

1. 1. Please provide Records sufficient to show the name of any Database that the MPD maintains that contains any data related to the supposed or actual Gang Affiliation of any person. Such Records should include, but not limited to, Documents related to the CIB Gang Tracking System maintained by MPD.

2. 2 Please provide Records sufficient to show the official name of any Database created or maintained by a third party that the MPD has access to that contains any data related to the supposed or actual Gang Affiliation of any person.

 

REQUEST B

1. Please provide Records sufficient to show the public or private entity that maintains each Database detailed in Request A 1.

2. Please provide Records sufficient to show the public or private entity that maintains each Database detailed in Request A 2.

 

REQUEST C

1. Please provide Records related to any public or private entity—whether on the federal, state, or local level—that can enter data into any Database detailed in Requests A 1 and A 2.

2. Please provide Records sufficient to show each public or private entity—whether on the federal, state, or local level—that can view or otherwise has access to the data within each Database detailed in Request A 1.

3. Please provide Records sufficient to show each public or private entity—whether on the federal, state, or local level—that can view or otherwise has access to the data within each Database detailed in Request A 2.

4. Please provide Records sufficient to show any agreements, memorandums of understanding, contracts, or data sharing agreements that grant permission or allow public or private entities outside of the MPD to view the data within each database detailed in Request A 1.

5. Please provide Records sufficient to show any agreements, memorandums of understanding, contracts, or data sharing agreements between the MPD and any public or private entities identified in Request B 2, that grant permission or allow public entities outside the MPD to view the data input by the MPD into each database identified in Request A 2.

6. Please provide Records sufficient to show the number of searches that each public or private entity detailed in Request C 2 has conducted in each Database. Please provide the information broken down by year for each year the Database has been maintained.

7. Please provide Records sufficient to show the number of searches that each public or private entity detailed in Request C 3 has conducted in each Database. Please provide the information broken down by year for each year the Database has been maintained.

 

REQUEST D

1. Please provide the following Records for each Database detailed in Request A 1:

a. Training materials

b. Criteria for assigning gang affiliation

c. Policies

d. Guidelines

e. Contracts

f. Memorandums of understanding

g. Non-disclosure agreements

h. Invoices

i. Bills

j. Cancelled checks

k. Manuals

 

2. Please provide the following Records for each Database detailed in Request A 2, that have been provided to the MPD by the agency or public body that maintains each Database:

a. Training materials

b. Criteria for assigning gang affiliation

c. Policies

d. Guidelines

e. Contracts

f. Memorandums of understanding

g. Non-disclosure agreements

h. Invoices

i. Bills

j. Cancelled checks

k. Manuals

 

REQUEST E

1. Please provide all Data Dictionaries for all Databases detailed in Request A 1.

2. Please provide all Data Dictionaries for all Databases detailed in Request A 2.

 

REQUEST F

1. Please provide Records sufficient to show any public or private entity that has the ability to alter, update, or change data already entered in to the Databases detailed in Request A 1.

2. Please provide Records sufficient to show any public or entity that has the ability to alter, update, or change data already entered in to the Databases detailed in Request A 2, that have been provided to the MPD by the public or private entity that maintains each Database.

3. Please provide Records sufficient to show the MPD’s ability to alter, update, or change data already entered in to the Databases detailed in Request A 2.

 

REQUEST G

1. Please provide Records sufficient to show the number of individuals for whom Gang Affiliation data is stored for each Database detailed in Request A 1.

2. Please provide Records sufficient to show the number of individuals for whom Gang Affiliation data is entered by the MPD for each Database detailed in Request

REQUEST H

1. Please provide Records sufficient to show all data maintained on each individual for whom Gang Affiliation data are stored in each Database detailed in Request A 1, including, but not limited to:

a. Race

b. Age at the time the Gang Affiliation was entered into the Database

c. Gender

d. Criteria for entering this individual’s Gang Affiliation in the Database

e. Geographic area of identification for each Gang Affiliation detailed in the Database

f. Entity that entered each Gang Affiliation in to the Database

g. Date each Gang Affiliation was entered in to the Database

h. Date of any alterations, updates, or changes to each Gang Affiliation

i. Details of any crimes associated with the individual that led to any Gang Affiliation being entered, altered, updated, or changed in the Database.

 

2. Please provide Records sufficient to show all data submitted to the MPD on each individual for whom Gang Affiliation was submitted to a Database detailed in Request A 2, including, but not limited to:

a. Race

b. Age at the time the original Gang Affiliation was entered into the Database

c. Gender

d. Criteria for entering this individual’s Gang Affiliation in the Database

e. Geographic area of identification for each Gang Affiliation detailed in the Database

f. Public body that entered each Gang Affiliation in to the Database

g. Date each Gang Affiliation was entered in to the Database

h. Date of any alterations, updates, or changes to each Gang Affiliation

i. Details of any crimes associated with the individual that led to any Gang Affiliation being entered, altered, updated, or changed in the Database.

 

REQUEST K

1. Please provide Records sufficient to show the criteria used by the MPD to determine that an individual is affiliated with a gang.

2. Please provide the job titles of MPD staff with authority to input, alter, update, or make changes to data within the Databases identified in Request A 1.

3. Please provide the job titles of MPD staff with authority to input, alter, update, or make changes to data within the Databases identified in Request A 2.

 

REQUEST J

1. Please provide Records sufficient to show the data points detailed below for each Database detailed in Request A 1, including:

a. Each gang detailed in the Database;

b. Aggregate total number of individuals associated at any point with each gang in Part (a) of Request J 1;

c. Aggregate total number of individuals believed to be currently associated with each gang in Part (a) of Request J 1; and

d. Criteria for entering this individuals’ affiliation in each Database details in Request J 1.

 

2. Please provide Records sufficient to show the data points detailed below for each Database detailed in Request A 2, including:

a. Each gang detailed in the Database;

b. Aggregate total number of individuals associated at any point with each gang in Part (a) of Request J 2;

c. Aggregate total number of individuals believed to be currently associated with each gang in Part (a) of Request J 2; and

d. Criteria for entering this individuals’ affiliation in each Database details in Request J 2.

 

Pursuant to 1 DCMR § 408.9 of FOIA, I request that the searching and copying fees associated with these requests be waived because it would be in the public interest. The Chicago Justice Project is a non-profit organization with a focus on providing the public with transparency around justice system policies and police conduct.

I request a response to these requests within fifteen (15) business day of the receipt, as provided by law. If you have any questions regarding these requests, please contact me at tsiska@chicagojustice.org.

Sincerely,

Tracy Siska

This request has been denied & then mysteriously partially (very minimally)  fulfilled just days later in one of the more weird responses we have ever received. We have filed a lawsuit in DC Superior Court and are currently litigating this case.

Correspondence Related to our Request

Acknowledgement Letter 2021FOIA08263

Final Response for FOIA Request No 2021FOIA08263 from Tracy Siska Chicago Justice Project

Followup to Final Response for FOIA Request No 2021FOIA08263 from Tracy Siska Chicago Justice Project

28 CFR – Gang Validation Process Training – 2_2_21_Redacted (1)

Freedom of Information Act Appeal

From Mayor’s Office FOIA Appeal 2022079

SO_09_03

If you want to access the complaint we filed is DC Superior Court yon can follow this link.

After this case reached the courtroom the MPD stared to miraculously produce materials that for some reason they were unable or unwilling to produce before we entered court. CJP is in the process of analyzing those materials and will be posting those materials and our analysis once it is completed.

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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