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PR 15-33 Access/Rhode Island v. Providence Police Department No violation

Even though Access/Rhode Island did not have standing to file this complaint, we reviewed this complaint consistent with this Department's independent statutory authority as described in West Warwick School Department, PR 15-23. In its complaint, Access/Rhode Island alleged that the Police Department violated the APRA when it responded to a MuckRock APRA request in an untimely manner. Despite this allegation, upon receiving the Police Department's response to Access/Rhode Island's complaint and supporting evidence, Access/Rhode Island requested that it be allowed to "withdraw" the APRA allegation against the Police Department and this Department permitted its withdrawal. In its rebuttal, Access/Rhode Island clarified that it also alleged that the Police Department violated the APRA when it refused to accept an in-person APRA request from a third party staff member (MuckRock), but this allegation was not clarified or raised until Access/Rhode Island's rebuttal, and therefore, was not properly before this Department since the Police Department never had the opportunity to address this allegation or present evidence. In any event, the evidence suggested that at the time of MuckRock's in-person APRA request, the City had promulgated an APRA procedure whereby APRA requests were to be made at City Hall and/or on-line, but not made at the Police Department. Accordingly, consistent with R.I. Gen. Laws 38-2-3(d)'s mandate that public bodies promulgate APRA procedures, neither MuckRock nor Access/Rhode Island presented any evidence that its in-person APRA request at the Police Department complied with the promulgated APRA procedures. We found no violations.

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