Guest post: Montgomery County electronic voting finally gets a real paper trail

Voting is one of the most fundamental civil rights — but electronic systems used by Maryland and Montgomery County have been vulnerable to abuse. Now new systems, to be deployed in April, promise improvement. Guest author Robert Lanza explains.

DS200 Ballot Box (ESS)

DS200 Ballot Box (ESS)

I attended a presentation by Montgomery County Board of Elections outreach, to introduce our new voting machines.  There will be two systems, one for the Early Voting period and one for Election Day voting.  Both systems are electronic (touch screen) systems that will generate a paper ballot (permanent) record of the votes cast. This conforms (finally) to legislation passed unanimously by the Maryland legislature about ten years ago that required a state-wide paper ballot system.

The short explanation for the ten-year delay is that the recession hit shortly after the legislation passed, and there was never any budget to purchase new voting machines until now.  There was also foot-dragging by the State Election Administrator.  The explanation for the fact that there are two different systems for Early Voting and for Election Day is that there aren’t enough of the type of machines that will be used during the Early Voting period to also deploy on Election Day, when voter volume will be much higher. Montgomery County intends to go to a single type of paper ballot system for the next election, and has leased the voting machinery only for 2016 rather than purchase the voting machinery outright, to allow for future improvements and system harmonization.

The Montgomery County Board of Education referenced that “Takoma Park activists” were in part responsible for the paper ballot system.

ExpressVote (ESS)

ExpressVote (ESS) – allows voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently.

Some meeting attendees still questioned why Maryland needs paper ballots. This is an important responsibility of the Montgomery County Board of Elections outreach, to better explain that this isn’t just the law, it is also a good idea.  One recent example is hackers who recently conducted an experiment to hack into an automobile on-board computer system, using a wireless system, and “drove” the automobile remotely while the driver (who was in on the experiment) just sat there.

Also, some meeting attendees were grumbling about the fact that Maryland doesn’t require voter ID every time people vote (ID is required to register and for first-time voters.)  There is this Great Myth that “voter impersonation” is rampant, when there is no evidence that this is the case.  The Montgomery County Board of Elections outreach representative noted that there have been some “intentional” instances of voter impersonation (activists trying to prove that it can be done to make a political point, and committing a felony in the process).  A rational way to look at this is that a voter impersonator can change one vote. A hacker with a wireless system can change all the votes.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections has lots of info about the new paper ballot systems on their website:

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections/index2.html

Anyway, an accomplishment for us activists.

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Police reform coalition responds in detail to Annapolis recommendations

Last summer, in the wake of the Freddie Gray unrest in Baltimore, a “Public Safety and Policing Work Group” (PSWG) of Annapolis legislators was convened to belatedly acknowledge some need for police reform, following the all but complete denial of reform efforts in the 2015 legislative session.  On January 11, that group released a report and list of 23 recommendations, some good, but some quite bad — especially #23, which effectively hands control of administrative hearings in use-of-force incidents to police union representatives, by giving them statutory control over 2 of 3 persons seated as hearing board members.

12313696_779577405521004_486169043346165051_nThe Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability has drafted a detailed list of responses to the PSWG recommendations. Before taking up objections, it’s worth noting that the recommendations as a whole were described as “a good first step,” and that fully fifteen of the 23 recommendations (#6-9, #11-13, #15-22) met with no objection or comment at all, and are entirely welcomed by MCJPA. These recommendations have to do with whistleblower protections, transparency of police department policies, and statewide law enforcement training standards and a new, independent Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission (MPTSC) created to compile and promulgate them.

For the remaining recommendations, one way to summarize MCJPA objections is:

  • Complaints should be made easier to file, not harder: even a year is too short a time to file one — there shouldn’t be a time limit at all (#1), complainants shouldn’t have to divulge their identity, or have to be related or present at the time of the incident (#2, 3), since they may reasonably fear reprisal.
  • Officers facing hearings should not get to “get their stories straight”: the proposed 5-day rule to retain counsel is 5 days too many (#4).  There should be an explicit non-collusion provision attached to any such rule.
  • Civilian participation in police oversight must be guaranteed, meaningful, not for show: investigations should not be restricted to sworn law enforcement officers (#5), civilians should not be shut out of use-of-force incident hearings (#23), and it should be clarified that civilians have a place in the proposed MPTSC (#10).
  • Police can’t self-police: giving police unions statutory authority to seat one member of hearing boards and veto a second one (#23) puts them in control of the disciplinary process — a step back, not a step forward.  “Currently the FOP has no role in choosing members of the trial board and this change would dramatically shift the power dynamic in the favor of officers accused of misconduct.

The detailed MCJPA responses can be read below or at the MCJPA web site currently on Facebook.

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Take it to Annapolis! Citizen lobbyist packets for Raskin Syrian refugee letter available

Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20)

Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20)

State senator Jamie Raskin’s letter endorsing Syrian refugee settlement is making waves in Annapolis!

Already, 18 delegates and senators — including the whole District 20 team representing Takoma Park and Silver Spring — have joined Senator Raskin to urge Governor Hogan to avoid demagoguery and follow federal law about this issue.  (Hopefully, you’ve already emailed your delegation about co-signing it!)

Now it’s time to give them a visit. The best times to pay a visit to your delegation — or other members of the General Assembly — are…

  • Monday evenings, 6-8pm
  • Tues-Thursday 9-10am and 11:30-1pm
  • Friday 9-11am and immediately after session, usually 12-2pm

You may only find staffers; you can try to set up a face to face meeting with your delegation (usually three delegates and one senator) in advance by calling ahead.  (If you don’t know who they are, you can use this lookup system.)

Consider offering others a ride, or see if you can get a lift yourself — using the groupcarpool.com page we’ve set up for the purpose.

Before you go, you should download and print…

Assemble one packet for each legislator you intend to visit, stapling them together in the order indicated.  You should definitely plan to visit your own State senator and three delegates, if they haven’t already signed.  (Again, if you don’t know who they are, you can use this lookup system.)

Drop by the Raskin office (Room 122, James Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis) before you get started, so you can hang up your coat and put away your other items before you hit the hallways.

If you go, snap some pictures and share them and your stories with us here or over at the “Maryland Welcomes Refugees” web site, md4refugees.org.  Thanks!

 

 

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Senator Raskin circulates pro-Syrian refugee letter in Annapolis – you can help

Beginning of Maryland General Assembly letter by State Senator Jamie Raskin, who is seeking cosignatures. You can help him do that here.

The Syrian refugee crisis hasn’t gone away, of course — nor has the urgency of confronting fearful and often Islamophobic commentary about accepting those (and other) refugees to our country.

So State Senator Jamie Raskin has penned a strong letter of support for Syrian refugees that he’s circulating in Annapolis. Excerpts:

Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20)

Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20)

We, the undersigned Members of the Maryland General Assembly, write to endorse the settlement in Maryland of refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. America was founded as a “haven of refuge,” as Tom Paine put it, for people all over the world seeking a new life free from repression and war. As the Free State, Maryland has always done its part to welcome refugees fleeing crisis, and there is no justification for us to cut and run from our basic values today.  […]

Our nation and our state were founded to give people fleeing persecution a safe haven. Welcoming Syrian refugees according to the law, and not scapegoating them according to fear, speaks to our best traditions and hopes for the future. We trust and hope that you and your administration will act accordingly and not fall for the demagoguery and paranoia that have overtaken the leadership of other states in the Union.

The letter also refers to the “significant and eloquent statements in support of accepting Syrian refugees made during the legislative interim by the Councils of Greenbelt, Howard County, Montgomery County, Rockville, and Takoma Park, along with the Mayor of Baltimore, and 39 state and local civil rights, faith, labor, humanitarian, social justice, and immigrant and refugee service provider organizations” (links added). For the full text, see the embedded document below.

md4refugeesimage

Take action at “Maryland Welcomes Refugees.”

Please help by urging your Annapolis delegation to sign on to Senator Raskin’s eloquent letter.

Just go to the “Take Action” page at Maryland Welcomes Refugees. Using your street address, the web site will provide you with the email addresses of your three delegates and senator, and a short message of support you can (and should) modify with your own words.

The full text of Senator Raskin’s letter follows: Continue reading

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Annapolis MLK evening rally, die-in highlight police accountability agenda

Activists Leigh Crenshaw, Jonathan Hutto, Elsa Lakew (MCCRC / Progressive Maryland), and Mekdes Sisay at the rally.

About two hundred activists braved a bitterly cold evening on Martin Luther King Day in Annapolis’s Lawyers Mall — directly in front of the Maryland State House — to send the message to the Maryland legislature that police accountability reform would remain a key issue in 2016.

The rally, organized by the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (MCJPA), was led by Larry Stafford (executive director of Progressive Maryland), who began by noting that he was determined and proud to be there despite the death, the day before, of a good friend and mentor.  He went on to introduce speakers including Rev. Janelle Bruce (St. Johns Baptist Church), Delegate Diana Fennell*, Marion Gray-Hopkins and Darlene Cain (mothers of police victims), Lawrence Grandpre (Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle-Baltimore), Sara Love (ACLU-MD), Elsa Lakew (Progressive Maryland, also MCCRC), and youth leaders from CASA and City Bloc.   Spoken word artist Lady Brion and singers Jordan, Ariana, and Caciana Garvin from the Restoration New Life Church performed as well.

Rallygoers and signs

Several speakers noted satisfaction at some of the progress shown by the recommendations of the Public Safety working group — but disappointment at the shortcomings of those recommendations, particularly the late breaking one that would actually increase FOP (Fraternal Order of Police) influence on use-of-force hearing boards.

Among the remarks:

  • Larry Stafford (Progressive Maryland):  “…as Dr. Martin Luther King has so often said, our duty is to struggle… Last year, as many of you know, there were many reforms brought before the General Assembly that did not pass… Then after the legislative session came the death of Freddie Gray, and the unrest and the uprising that we saw in Baltimore City. Only after that did the leadership begin to recognize that this is something we can actually make a difference on here in Maryland.”
  • Rev. Janelle Bruce (St. Johns Baptist Church): “we’re here today because we’re tired of unchecked abuse of police power, God, we’re tired of seeing our children, our sisters, our brothers, God, die by a system of injustice…right now we pray for the heart of every single lawmaker that walks through these doors and sits as a public servant… when our legislators sit in their seats, God, let them remember Tamir Rice and Sandra Bland and Michael Brown and Tanisha Anderson…”
  • Delegate Diana Fennell*: “…we will be sure to hold police accountable for their actions… We support you and thank you so very, very much.”
  • Marion Gray-Hopkins: “Justice will not come unless we fight for it.  Justice will not come until we fix this broken system. … We’re not going to win this battle as individuals. It’s going to require us to work collectively, by organizing in our churches, civil organizations, and our homes.”
  • Elsa Lakew (Progressive Maryland, MCCRC): “I just want to say to some of these legislators even though they’re not here with us… that black folks do not need your remorse, black people do not need any more of your tears, what we need you to do is pray, yes, but pray on your feet… by going into your offices, advocating for accountability legislation to finally be passed.” (Ms. Lakew’s prepared remarks can be read here.)
  • Sara Love (ACLU-MD): “A lot of the recommendations that the work group put out are good — they don’t go far enough, and we need to push them to be stronger — but one of them is downright horrible. At the last minute the FOP added a recommendation that would give them control over discipline!  It could mandate that the… internal hearing boards that are convened to decide whether an officer [has] engaged in misconduct would be dominated by the FOP.  Now let’s remember that the FOP are the people who think the officers in the Freddie Gray case did nothing wrong… I want each and every one of you to call your legislators and tell them that recommendation cannot pass.”
  • Lawrence Grandpre (LBS): “…under the recommendation given out by the work group, they want to make it so that you have to divulge your full name and identity to the police when you pose a complaint.  These are the same people who have harassed you and abused you, and now they know who you are, and if they wanted to retaliate, now they can. […] I want you to remember a few things about these so-called reforms.  Even… if everything they proposed passed, Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) would be roughly the same as Arizona’s and Louisiana’s — even after reform!  On top of that, the provision Sara is talking about, they took that straight out of Rhode Island, they took the worst provision from Rhode Island and brought it on down south here to Maryland.  …That’s the way that they play the game here in Maryland for years: tell you that they’re going to reform, put the knife 7 inches in your back, pull it out 3 inches and call that progress.”

Here is a video playlist of the evening’s speakers.

Groundlevel snapshot, die-in. (My fingers were too numb to focus the picture.)

The highlight of the event was a moving die-in.  As the first names, counties, and races of dozens of Maryland police-involved fatalities were read out, participants, one by one, took a sheet of paper for each victim and lay down in front of the “Equal Justice” monument to Thurgood Marshall with a small electric candle.  (Mine was Jason, white, in Baltimore County.)

Regardless of the circumstances for any individual case, we must wonder how many of them could and should have been handled without loss of life — and we must insist on public accountability for all of them, and for real reform, not progress in some areas undermined by defeat in others.  As Lawrence Grandpre concluded his remarks,

“Right now, we’re mainly willing to hear the process.  If they continue to not hear our demands, we are going to disrupt the process.  And if they continue not to heed the community, we will be left with no choice but to try to end the process.”

12313696_779577405521004_486169043346165051_n

Selected coverage:

= = = =
* EDIT, 1/26: The delegate on hand was Del. Diana Fennell, not Barbara Robinson.  We regret our error.

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Coalition: MD police reform recommendations “an important start” – but #23 is very bad

Maryland flagOn Monday the Maryland legislature’s Public Safety and Policing work group issued 23 specific recommendations for police reform (reprinted in full at the end of this post).  Many of the recommendations — which will be featured in a bill or bills to be submitted by the majority leaders of both houses —  directly amend or revise the so-called “Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights” (LEOBR) administrative rules that have allowed Maryland police to commit brutality and even kill with near impunity for years.

Among the highly anticipated changes:

  • (1) The LEOBR complaint filing deadline triggering the requirement that disciplinary action be undertaken by a law enforcement agency shall be extended from 90 days to a year and a day.  […]
  • (4) The time period for retaining an attorney for the internal investigation and disciplinary process under LEOBR shall be reduced from 10 days to 5 days.
  • (5) As is the case in some jurisdictions, all law enforcement agencies in the State shall open their administrative LEOBR hearing board proceedings to the public.  The General Assembly shall strike the statutory prohibition against citizen participation to allow a jurisdiction to permit a citizen who has received training in LEOBR to sit as a member of the administrative hearing board.

12313696_779577405521004_486169043346165051_nIn response, the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (MCJPA), of which MCCRC is a member organization, issued this statement:

The coalition recognizes the positive votes today by the Maryland Public Safety and Policing Workgroup, which are an important start to allow for increased civilian participation in misconduct investigations, more transparency for the community and victims, and more robust training. We appreciate the time and effort put in by the workgroup. Nonetheless, there remain important areas that need improvement to ensure real accountability, especially in communities targeted by racially biased over-policing. Reforms that are still needed include lifting the restriction on who can file a police brutality complaint, lifting the restriction that only sworn law enforcement personnel may investigate complaints, and requiring that complainants identify themselves. In addition, we are concerned about a last-minute addition to the recommendations that would change the composition of the trial board to give the FOP a greater role in the discipline process.

The final point of the statement refers to a controversial 23d recommendation:

  • (23) The LEOBR shall be amended to require that for use of force incidents, the trial board shall be composed of one member selected by the Chief or Sheriff, one member selected by the FOP [Fraternal Order of Police – ed.]/affected employee, and one member who is mutually agreed upon. The members must be selected from a pool of police officers who are not from the affected officer’s jurisdiction.  One member must be of equal rank to the affected employee.  A collective bargaining agreement may specify a different method of choosing a trial board.

…which all but guts the impact of recommendation #5: if Officer Jones stole a doughnut, civilians can be on his hearing board, but if Officer Jones shot a man, they can’t.  Moreover, an LEOBR implementing  recommendation #23 would give police unions a Maryland statute guaranteeing they can appoint 2 out of 3 hearing board members, when that was something they needed to negotiate for in the past.* The FOP must be ROTFL — they may actually be better off in 2016 than they were in 2015, at least on this score.

So join us next Monday, Martin Luther King Day, when the MCJPA coalition will hold a press conference, rally, and die-in on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis to to demand strong, real police accountability legislation by the Maryland General Assembly in 2016.

The full list of 23 recommendations follows:

Continue reading

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Takoma Park, America says “Close Guantanamo!”

As promised, MCCRC activists showed up at the Takoma Metro station this evening, distributing flyers about Guantanamo and collecting signatures to our petition asking the Montgomery County area Congressional delegation to do something about Guantanamo — investigate the Pentagon for its foot-dragging, and support legislation to get the base closed. We also read excerpts from Guantanamo Diary (video to come). Quite a few of those signing the petition took it a step further and decided to show the world they want the lawless torture chamber known as Guantanamo closed:

(Photographer: Norman van der Sluys)

Join us!

First, sign the petition.

Then download and print our “Close Guantanamo!” sign, take a picture of your bad self with it, send it to us at mococivilrights@gmail.com, and we’ll add you to the slideshow. You’ll help make our country and our world just a little bit better — plus those of you who do will have more fun than those of you who don’t, just pointing that out.

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Mo Co area congressional delegation: investigate Pentagon footdragging, close Guantanamo!

Download this sign, send us a picture of you holding it, your first name and city if you’d like along with any statement you’d like to add to mococivilrights@gmail.com, and we’ll include it in the”Close Guantanamo!” photo album.

MCCRC activists will be at Takoma Metro station tomorrow evening distributing flyers about Guantanamo, reading from Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s “Guantánamo Diary” and asking supporters to pose with “Close Guantanamo!” signs like the one on the right.

We’ll also be collecting signatures petitioning the Montgomery County area congressional delegation (Representatives Chris Van Hollen, John Delaney, and John Sarbanes; Representative and Senate candidate Donna Edwards; and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin) to investigate the Pentagon’s reported foot-dragging in making it possible for cleared prisoners to find asylum in other countries.  From a December 29, 2015 Reuters report by Charles Levinson and David Rohde (“Special Report: Pentagon thwarts Obama’s effort to close Guantanamo“):

To slow prisoner transfers, Pentagon officials have refused to provide photographs, complete medical records and other basic documentation to foreign governments willing to take detainees, administration officials said. They have made it increasingly difficult for foreign delegations to visit Guantanamo, limited the time foreign officials can interview detainees and barred delegations from spending the night at Guantanamo.

Our petition also asks for the recipients to sponsor or co-sponsor legislation closing the Guantanamo base.  If you’d like to add your own name to the list, use the embedded form below to do so: Continue reading

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Police reform now! MLK Day rally, press conference, and die-in at Lawyers Mall in Annapolis

2015 MLK Day rally for reform

  • WHEN: 7pm-9pm, rain or shine, Monday January 18 (Martin Luther King Day)
  • WHERE: Lawyers Mall, Annapolis, across from the State House
  • WHAT:
    • Press conference
    • Rally and speakers
    • Die-in on the plaza, with signs remembering victims of police violence
  • HOW: carpool
  • RSVP:

The Maryland 2016 legislative session won’t begin until next week. But police reform advocates are already bracing for disappointing news from the “Public Safety & Policing Work Group” – an ad hoc committee of delegates and senators hastily established last May after the twin debacles of Annapolis legislative failure to achieve meaningful police reform, followed by the April uprising in Baltimore triggered by Freddie Gray’s death, in custody, at the hands of Baltimore police.

The absence of key advocates like Baltimore delegate Jill Carter, and a pattern of delay in the group’s issuance of final recommendations (all but sure to come with the imprimatur of Assembly leaders Mike Miller and Mike Busch) made many observers pessimistic all along about what kinds of reforms we’ll be asked to settle for — as opposed to what’s actually needed:

  • Equal justice: the same justice for police officers that’s good enough for the rest of us:
    • no administrative ten-day grace period — no delay at all — in facing interrogation
    • no ninety day statute of limitations  for victims to file complaints
  • Real oversight: tools and processes that expose wrongdoing instead of concealing it:
    • civilian review: not just a “colleague’s jury” (a police-only “trial board”) empowered to overturn administrative penalties and firings for misconduct, but civilian input with subpoena power
    • body camera legislation that at least prevents this technology from becoming a mere police propaganda tool (turned on and off at whim, or footage exempted from Maryland public information regulations)
    • amending Maryland law to allow Marylanders to learn how their complaints of police misconduct are handled

If there’s a core American political insight, it may be that power will not police itself.  Yet that’s what the regrettable (and regrettably mislabeled) “Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights” (LEOBOR) enacted for Maryland. One of the ‘strongest’, most retrograde such codes in the country, Maryland’s LEOBOR has functioned more as a shield of impunity and privilege than as a codex of rights.  One result — actually, hundreds of results — is case after case like Freddie Gray’s, with the ACLU reporting last year there were at least 109 deaths from encounters with Maryland police over the past 4 years.

Accordingly, representatives from the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability (includes ACLU-MD, Casa de Maryland, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, and other organizations including MCCRC) will hold a press conference and rally at 7 pm on January 18th, MLK Day, in Annapolis.

In addition, rally goers will be participating in a “die in”, where we will lie down with signs remembering past victims of police violence.  This won’t be civil disobedience — not yet.  But if real progress isn’t being made during this legislative session, that will change.

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MCCRC issues FOIA request about MTPD bag searches

mtpd-patch[SIGN OUR PETITION AGAINST BAG SEARCHES]

The Metro Transit Police Department recently announced that it was resuming the practice of assigning bag search units to random Metro stations for random bag searches of persons seeking to enter the WMATA Metro system.  Speaking on November 16, Chief Ron Pavlik claimed that the measures are designed “… to assure riders as well as employees that Metro operates a safe system.

We disagree, and know many of our supporters do as well. For one overview of issues with random bag searches, see “Are Metro bag searches really that bad?“:

Part of what’s at stake here is maybe captured in that Southwest Airlines ad line that says we should be “free to move about the country.” It’s important that we carry our our rights with us wherever we go, including the right to be free from unreasonable searches. This is the very definition of an unreasonable search — for no reason (at least for no disputable reason), you are pulled aside and subjected to a search.  […]

…these searches aren’t just unconstitutional — they’re stupid. And they’re not just stupid — they’re stupid by definition. What program of unreasonable, suspicionless (and unconstitutional) searches is going to be better than a program relying on reasonable (and constitutional) ones based on real suspicions?

WMATA and the MTPD have claimed that the random bag search process avoids profiling.  While not admitting to it initially, the MTPD subsequently revealed that persons refusing bag searches were followed and reported to federal agencies.

For any law enforcement system to be truly accountable to the public, it must be able to demonstrate that its policies and procedures are functioning as intended.  In this case, this includes demonstrating that stations and times chosen for bag search units are truly random, that persons requested to submit to a bag search are truly chosen in the manner described*, and elaborating on the surveillance and record consequences someone faces if they exercise their constitutional right not to be searched.

Accordingly, using the online service “MuckRock“, we’re filing a “Public Access Records Policy” (PARP) request — a kind of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request under WMATA’s charter — with the Metro Transit Police Department.  We are requesting documents necessary and sufficient to determine…

(1) the locations, dates, and times of bag search unit deployments from December 16, 2010 (the date of a first news release about the bag search program) to December 31, 2015, and, for the same time period,
(2) internal quality assurance protocols and records that bag search deployments are in fact carried out at random locations and times, and that persons requested to submit to bag searches there are in fact selected on an “every Xth person” or some similar random basis,
(3) annual numbers of false positives encountered (i.e., bags deemed to contain explosives by testing equipment that in fact did not),
(4) annual numbers of bag search refusals encountered and what actions were then taken towards these persons, and
(5) annual numbers of persons reported to federal, state, local, or joint law enforcement agencies on the basis of
(a) bag searches and
(b) bag search refusals.
(6) annual costs of the bag search program, and annual grants or other outside funding sources defraying all or part of those costs.
(7) any cost-benefit analyses or program evaluations of the bag search program performed by or made available to WMATA and/or the MTPD.”

Note that in no case are we requesting private information about any particular person.  Note also that…

  • if WMATA and MTPD plead that security considerations preclude release of any or all  data for requests (1) and (2), that will be the extent to which they’re unwilling to disprove that they’re engaging in racial and/or other forms of profiling;
  • if WMATA and MTPD refuse to answer (3), that will be the extent to which the public remains uninformed about the accuracy of the bag search program;
  • if WMATA and MTPD refuse to answer (4) and (5),  that will be the extent to which the public remains uninformed about the serious negative consequences of exercising their constitutional right to refuse a bag search; and
  • if WMATA and MTPD refuse to answer (6) and (7), the public remains uninformed about the costs, supporters, and purported benefits of the bag search program, assuming WMATA and MTPD have estimated them at all.

We will keep you posted on the progress of our request.  The “MuckRock” records of that request to WMATA and any future responses can be viewed here.

 

=====
* MTPD has claimed in the past that “A number is selected (for example, every 12th customer with a bag) and customers are identified for carry on inspections based exclusively on the number.”

 

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