The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri has filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County and the county police department to obtain details on the fatal shooting Saturday of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in St. Louis County Circuit Court, the advocacy group said it had received an “inadequate response” to its original records request, which was made Tuesday. Thursday’s legal filing alleged that the county’s failure to produce an incident report “is a purposeful, or, in the alternate, knowing violation of the Sunshine Law.”
Despite inaccurate reports, the name of the officer who fatally shot Brown on Saturday remains officially unavailable. Originally, the Ferguson Police Department was expected to release the name on Tuesday.
But police officials changed their mind and decided not to identify the officer, citing safety concerns, with Brown’s death sparking widespread unrest.
The officer’s name would be included in the incident report for the shooting, which the ACLU sought this week as a public record, arguing that it was available upon request under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.
But the St. Louis County Police Department responded to the ACLU’s request with a note saying that the report wasn’t going to be released because the investigation is ongoing. (At the request of the Ferguson Police Department, the investigation has been turned over to the county.)
The ACLU said it also received an e-mail response to the request, which consisted of a “CAD Calls List” record that included the date, the address and time of a call simply labeled as “SHOOT.”
According to the lawsuit, the ALCU wants the court to declare that the incident report is an open record and to enter an injunction forcing the county to release the document. The group is also asking the court to impose a civil penalty against the county for violating the Sunshine Law and to order the county to pay the ACLU’s legal fees.
The lawsuit marks the second time this summer that the ACLU of Missouri has sued the county over alleged Sunshine Law violations. In July, the organization filed suit to obtain an audit related to an embezzlement case.
Read the full Ferguson filing below: