The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has reached a settlement with the City of Saint Paul over our lawsuit to get public data that officials had improperly withheld for more than 18 months.
Under the settlement, the city provided some of the Saint Paul Police Department data the ACLU-MN had requested, including four years of recent data about arrests and citations, traffic stops and uses of force. The city did not provide data on investigative stops because officials said they either don’t track and monitor the data or maintain it in a useful format, even though the SPPD’s manual requires officers to record these stops.
Our lawsuit was the catalyst for the city forming its Investigative Stop Working Group near the end of 2020. As a result of the group’s work, SPPD has committed to launching a project to collect, track and share investigative stop data.
“While we are disappointed it was necessary to file a lawsuit to get data that is clearly public, we are pleased the city of Saint Paul has taken steps to rectify the situation,” said ACLU-MN Staff Attorney David McKinney. “If the city doesn’t collect and analyze data on investigative stops, how can officials know what police are doing in the field? Collecting this data and making it public is crucial for adequate oversight, accountability and transparency by police, and to understand the true scope of racial disparities.”
The Minnesota Data Practices Act requires governments to keep records “in such an arrangement and condition as to make them easily accessible for convenient use.”
As part of the settlement, the city acknowledges the ACLU-MN will be back every year to ask for updated policing data.
The ACLU-MN is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to defend the civil liberties of all Minnesotans. Learn more at www.aclu-mn.org.