In the past four months, DC Rider has filed two requests under Metro’s version of the Freedom of Information Act, the Public Access to Records Policy, or PARP. But like some critics who say Metro takes forever to respond — or reveals only bits of information when it does — we haven’t had much luck.
On June 19 and 20, we asked for police reports for a number of crimes listed on the Metro Transit Police blotter online because we think riders should know about incidents such as sexual assaults, assaults and robberies on trains and buses.
“The PARP team” first responded on June 21, saying it does not accept blanket requests for the same types of information, like seeing new police reports every day and that "we are not required to process requests if burdensome.”
On June 28, Metro denied the request outright, refusing to make public reports on the crimes affecting riders. In response to an email protesting the denial, Metro’s chief counsel for customer service and regulatory affairs, Sonia Bacchus, emailed: “To preserve the integrity of law enforcement proceedings, WMATA, pursuant to policy, does not generally release records related to criminal matters during ongoing law enforcement proceedings.”
On July 24, we tried again, this time asking for the number of times Metro has received sexual harassment complaints about its employees, and how many of those cases resulted in some sort of action against the workers.
On Aug. 7, assistant general counsel Nwora A. Nwokolo, emailed back, saying WMATA generally aims to respond to a request for records within 20 business days following receipt of the request.” That means we should have received the information on Aug. 23.
But nothing yet.
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