Groups want sensitive Richmond police documents published online - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Groups want sensitive Richmond police documents published online

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Two Richmond groups are asking a judge to let them publish documents that could put the lives of Richmond Police officers and their sources at risk.

In December, NBC12 told you about an injunction, which ordered two Richmond groups to take links to sensitive police files off their websites. Now, those groups want the injunction dissolved.

Lawyers for The Wingnut Anarchist Collective, Virginia CopBlock and Richmond Police Department were in court Monday and will be back again Thursday. From the documents we're learning more about a hard drive containing sensitive files and just how dangerous police believe they can be in the wrong hands.

For a time, Richmond Police officers, their families and confidential informants were breathing a sigh of relief. Links to documents that listed their names and addresses were taken off the internet and out of the public eye.

But representatives of The Wingnut Anarchist Collective and Virginia CopBlock, which are known for ruffling feathers and holding authorities accountable, are still fighting what they see as a first amendment issue over a police hard drive.

We learned Tuesday, that USB stick in question belongs to Capt. Martin Harrison. Court documents reveal he used to transport documents from his office in headquarters to a weekly Monday meeting in another room in the building.

On November 15th, Harrison became aware of the files posted online.

That's when he discovered the hard drive was missing. Court documents reveal he searched his office and the meeting room. Both are in secure areas inside headquarters. They also explain the captain doesn't recall ever taking the hard drive outside of that building.

Lawyers for RPD wrote in their court filings no one with the authority to do so gave the information to anyone outside the department. And according to the lawsuit, they wouldn't.

There's a phrase on the streets: "snitches get stitches." Cops are afraid of dangerous retaliation if the information gets out. It mentions confidential sources, some of whom have worked with police on drug buys.

The documents say the consequences could affect public safety, reducing the ability of those sources to continue to operate and deterring others from assisting investigations.

A lawyer for The Wingnut Anarchist Collective and Virginia CopBlock did not return phone calls Tuesday. In an earlier interview, Andrew Bodoh said the first amendment protects the public's ability to publish truthful information and that his clients simply posted links to it.

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