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Judicial Watch • CRS Sanford App w Exh

CRS Sanford App w Exh

CRS Sanford App w Exh

Page 1: CRS Sanford App w Exh


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Date Created:June 5, 2012

Date Uploaded to the Library:February 20, 2014

Tags:App, CRS, Exh, Sanford, exhibit

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Because n.o one above the law! 
June 2012 

OIP Director Melanie Pustay 
U.S. Department Justice 
1425 New York Ave., N.W., Ste. 11050 
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001 
Re: CRS's Partial Denial FOIA Records 
Dear Ms. Pustay: 
This letter timely appeals the Community Relations Service's May 30denial1 Judicial Watch's April records request2 regarding the federal government's 
involvement date the Trayvon Martin case. The May denial stated that 185 
statutory exception the agency's overarching duty disclose.4 The letter stated further 
that additional pages full and 125 pages part, also responsive Judicial 
Watch's request, are being withheld well due "personal privacy" concerns.5 copy the Community Relations Service's May denial, signed Irene Kho, here attached 
Exhibit copy Judicial Watch's April records request, filed pursuant the freedom Information Act 
(FOIA), U.S.C.  552, here attached Exhibit U.S. Attomey Gen. Eric Holder Speaks the National Action Network 4th Annual Convention (Apr. 
11, 2012), claiming statutory exception disclosure, the Community Relations Service (CRS) cited U.S.C.  
552 {b)(3), labeling "(b)(3) EXEMPTION," and U.S.C.  2000g-2(b), identified "CRS' enabling 
statute." Section (b)(3) excuses from the agency's overarching duty disclose such records are 
"specifically exempted from disclosure statute ifthat statute requires that the matters withheld 
from the public such manner leave discretion the issue establishes particular criteria for 
withholding refers particular types ofrnaiters withheld." Meanwhile, section 2000g-2(b) 
provides pertinent parl that "[tlhe activities all officers and employees the Service providing 
conciliation assistance shall conducted confidence and without publicity, and the Service shall hold 
confidential any information acquired the regular performance its duties upon the understanding that 
would held." claiming exemption from disclosure based privacy
concerns, CRS cited U.S.C.  552(b)(6), which 

425 Third St, SW, Suite 800, Washington, 20024 Tel: (202} 646-5 1-888-593-8442 
FAX: (202) 646-5 l::?:mail: 
Justice Department June 2012 
CRS's response falls altogether short what FOIA requires withho)ding public records and supplying legal justification for doing so.6 Judicial Watch challenges the adverse determination for the reasons given below. 

Former CRS Director Ondray Harris told "Main Justice" pro.file the division that the role this Civil-Rights Era branch the U.S. Department Justice had expanded from soothing racial tensions across the country seeking them out. its own jobs page, CRS describes itself "DOJ's peacemaker" working "to restore stability and accord" the face racial unrest.8 that end, CRS says promotes the development commWlity-based "alternatives coercion and litigation" well training how "defuse allegations ofracial profiling whenever they arise." Id. support that mission, CRS -with total staff spent $11,456,000 fiscal years 
2011 and 2012, and has sought $12,036,000 and five additional employees for fiscal year 
92013 keep with its growing goals.
Meanwhile, March 13, 2012, the Florida branch the National Association for the Advancement Colored People (NAACP) published its website letter 
excuses from the agency overarching duty disclose "personnel and medical files and similar tiles the disclosure which would constitute clearly unwarranted invasion personal privacy." The implication privacy interests does not relieve the government its basic duty under FOTA identify responsive documents, provide specific justification for withholding, and disclose any non-exempt portions the requested documents. Citizens for Responsihility Ethics Wash. U.S. Dep Justice, Civ. No. 
1021, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27298 (D.D.C. Mar. 2012). "agency cannot justify withholding entire document simply showing that contains some exempt material. has long been rule this Circuit that non-exempt portions document must 
disclosed unless they are inextricably intertwined with exempt portions. 1974, Congress expressly incorporated that requirement into the FOIA, which now states that 'any reasonably segregable portion record shall provided ... after deletion the portions which are exempt.'" Mead Data Cent., Inc. 
U.S. Dep't the Air Force, 566 F.2d 242, 260 (D.C. Cir. 1977)(citing U.S.C.  552(b)). Ryan Reilly, "DOJ's Community Relations Service Expanding Its Manda,'' Main Justice, July 21, 

Justice Department June 2012 
General Holder via CRS Acting Director Becky Monro.e.10 The letter requested that CRS "detail personnel Sanford, review the February shooting death unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin" order "ensure that impartial and thorough investigation performed promptly." Id. The group also requested meeting with CRS officials which can present our concerns." ld. 
Then, March 19, Department Justice (DOJ) spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa told the press: "The Community Relations Service will Sanford, Fla., this week meet with civil rights leaders, community leaders and local law enforcement address tension the community."11 The next day, CRS held ''town hall meeting" Allen Chapel AME Church which escorted hundreds protestors from far away Daytona Beach.12 The angry rally resulted the ouster Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee.13 Protesters, who voluntarily identified themselves media reports name and petitions address and occupation well, consistently characterized CRS being 
their comer. 
Despite CRS's apparent sole identification with protcstors that point, FBf Special Agent Dave Couvertier told the Los Angeles Times (during joint interview with Ms. Hinojosa) that the federal government's interest the Trayvon case amounts "parallel investigation" focused specifically any civil rights implications the late teenager's death.14 "We are not investigating the Sanford Police Department, which has been little confusing for folks," said. Id. "When the Justice Department investigates whole police department, like did New Orleans L.A., that pattern practice investigation-that's something different," Ms. Hinojosa added. '"We are not doing that here." Id. Two weeks later, however, General Holder's announcement CRS NAACP letter U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, care ofCRS Acting Director Becky Monroe, 
Ryan Reilly, "OOJ, FBI Opens lnvestigation ofTrayvon Martin Death," TPM Lvei wire, March 19, Arelis Hernandez, "DOJ 'peacemakers' helped Sanford stay cool amid rising tensions," Orlando Trym aine Lee, "Bill Lee, Sanford Police Chief, eps Down Temporarily Over Trayvon Martin Case," Molly Hennessy-Fiske, "Federal officials detail Trayvon Martin investigation," L.A. Times, Mar. 29, 
Justice Department June 2012 
engagement Sanford met with cheers attendees the National Action Network's three-day, 14th annual conference, event hosted Reverend Sharpton.15 The conference's theme this year was racial violence and victimization, topic centered Trayvon Martin's death. Id. Meanwhile, the date this appeal, intensive research yielded nothing suggest that CRS, General Holder, Mmes. Monroe Hinojosa had annolU1ced engaged any parallel training defusing allegations racial profiling, accordance with the division's stated mission, despite the fact that these very activities 
may have prevented what has been perceived some the coerced resignation 
Sanford's former police chief. 
Excessive redaction and missing documents response Judicial Watch's FOIA request April 24, CRS produced largely blacked out copies press releases forwarded CRS the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board and the City Sanford. Given Florida's exemplary Sunshine Laws, those records and more were produced promptly and directly Judicial Watch without deletion local agencies. Hence, CRS's redaction names and email addresses state and municipal employees and volunteers communication with CRS the course their involvement the Trayvon case was excessive. This fact lU1dcrscored the disclaimer included the bottom many Florida emails,16 which states some variation the following message: 
PLEASE NOTE: Florida has very broad public records law. Any written communication from City officials regarding City business public record available the public and media upon request. Your e-mail communications may subject public disclosures. 
Aside from CRS1s failure articulate any analysis how anybody's personal privacy would impacted all their identification the course official correspondence, the division improperly extended this courtesy unexplained secrecy itself. This was done unjustifiably withholding many travel records, including hotel, AP, "To The Rescue? Holder Vows Review ofTrayvon Case," NewsOne, Apr. 2012, copy two Florida emails containing this disclaimer arc here attached Exhibit 
Justice Department June 2012 
dinner, and taxi receipts submitted employees the course their travel related the Trayvon case. Worse yet, among those travel documents CRS did disclose, improperly redacted the name many traveling employees well the name the official who authorized the associated expense.17 Further establishing the clumsy and haphazard application redactions this instance, CRS failed redact any employee names appearing box the forms. id. Indeed, even the name CRS's Miami-based Conciliation Specialist appears without concealment many emails throughout the production. 
Most importantly, the names government employees are secret only the rarest cases. Indeed, conducting community outreach and education, CRS employees' names perforce appear all over the Internet, minutes published city
meetings18 well powerpoint presentations uploaded municipalitics Furthermore, since its own admission CRS neither investigates nor prosecutes crimes, cannot deemed under FOJA operate law enforcement capacity. So, just like FBI record not automatically subject POlA's law enforcement exemption based the nature that agency's work (e.g. SP-50s FBI agents are not law enforcement records within the meaning FOIA), neither can the CRS claim law enforcement agency just because housed within the Department Justice. That being the case, CRS cannot justify keeping its staffers' names anonymous the way that the FBI and CIA might have occasion with its agents. Cf.' CIA Sims, 471 U.S. 159 (1985). A1isuse CRS's enabling statute withhold segregable information addition the unexplained missing expense docwnents described above, there were admitted 185 more responsive records purportedly shielded from disclosure the confidentiality provision CRS's enabling statute. This excuse disingenuous for several reasons. First, CRS has prided itself lately ramping its "outreach and education" efforts. This necessarily means that CRS does not operate bubble unto sampling documents titled, "Travel Voucher Summary," here attached Exhibit 
Meeting minutes, Atlanta Citizen Review Board, "Presentation and information from the Department Sr. Conciliation Specialist Walter Atkinson, "Hate Crimes Prevention Act," Leading Every Level: 
Community Education Forum Hate Crime Prevention, Tenn. State Univ., Jan. 26, 2012, 
www.nashvi ./HateCrimeResponsiveness.pdf 
2 CRS Acting Director Becky Monroe, "Annual Report 2010 -America's Peacemaker," www.justice. gov Icrs/pubs/ annualrepo1120 10. pdf. 

Justice Department June 5,2012 
itself. The CRS's success publicizing its activities demonstrated the recitation 
media interviews listed above21 well the citation websites mentioning CRS the
local level.Hence, the division cannot seek press coverage even hides behind its enabling statute skirt its duties under FOlA. more teclmical level, CRS's confidentiality provision not the sort statute that "requires that the matters withheld from the public such manner leave discretion the issue," contemplated U.S.C.  552 (b)(3)(A)(i). fairer reading suggests that CRS's confidentiality provision only expressly exempts from disclosure "[t]he activities all officers and employees the Service providing conciliation assistance" along with "confidential any infmmation acquired the regular performance [CRS's] duties upon the understanding that would held." 
U.S.C. 2000g-2(b). That said, not all records requested Judicial Watch were specific the Service's conciliation assistance function. 
For instance, coordinating march college students from Daytona Sanford, CRS does not appear have confidentially met with two more parties dispute attempt settle their differences. Rather, without the benefit the requested documents, appears that CRS inflamed rather than soothed the protestors attempt foment rather than quell racial unrest. Since CRS's enabling statute does not define the word conciliation, ordinary canons statutory interpretation dictate that the term given its plain meaning. See Milner Dep qf'the Navy, 131 Ct. 1259 (2011). Hence, any CRS's ancillary activities that did not directly entail sitting down behind closed doors with one another party for the express and limited purpose settling their differences -e.g. interstate travel coordinating protests -would not shielded under the "conciliation" provision CRS's statute. 
Along the same lines, the patties any conciliation the Trayvon matter appear protestors and police where the protcstors believed the police had not adequately investigated the shooter because was not immediately charged with crime. Consequently, the extent that CRS conducted any closed-door session between protestor (particularly members ofTrayvon Martin's family) and the Sanford police department, notes transcript from that session could reasonably covered the second half CRS's confidentiality provision -so long CRS acquired the information the basis that CRS would maintain the information confidential. However, there See notes tluough 15, above. See notes and 19, above. 
Justice Department 
June 2012 
reason believe that, this situation, anybody sought was guaranteed confidentiality obtaining services any kind from CRS, since all parties were eager make known their respective positions the media.23 Indeed. Trayvon Martin's mother called press conference hours after General Holder spoke Reverend Sharpton's conference24 and the police department called press conference shortly after the Allen Chapel mecting.25 Even George Zimmerman apparently called radio station while his father wrote editorial for publication newspaper. So, even the records withheld were compiled purely colUlection with sit-down, closed-door conciliation session -which characterization records from other agencies would put grave doubt -the second half the confidentiality test not here met where the parties divulged information without extracting from CRS exchange promise secrecy. 

For all the foregoing reasons, Judicial Watch asks that the Justice Department compel the Community Relations Service once to: Craft search likely locate all responsive records; Promptly execute that search reasonable manner. including pursuit all logical leads; Conduct segregability analysis order redact only those portions responsive documents shown exempt from compulsory disclosure; Redact responsive records malUler that indicates the amount material withheld the site the redaction, citing the precise basis for withholding; 	Release all responsive documents or, narrow instances, supply particuJarizedjustification for continuing withhold whatever specific portions the agency can establish arc exempt from the agency's overarching duty disclose. 
Additionally> because the Community Relations Service failed meet any the statutory minimums described above, Judicial Watch anticipates receipt all responsive documents within days further cost itself, accordance with U.S.C.  552 (a)(6)(A)(i) and (a)(4)(A)(viii). See note and 15, above. See note 15, above. See note 13, above. 
Justice Department June 2012 
Respectfully submitted, 

Lisette Garcia, J.D. 
Senior Investigator