On April 10, 2018, the City received a public information request (CFW Open Records Request W071304) that sought the release of information that the City believes to be confidential under chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code. The requestor sought specific use of force information from the Fort Worth Police Department that disclosed the date, time, incident location, officer name, complainant name, details of allegations, complaint status, department personnel involved in the investigation and the outcome of the use of force cases.
The City submitted a brief to the Attorney General arguing that a portion of information requested was confidential under section 143.089(g) of the Texas Local Government Code. Specifically, the City argued that the information is kept only for the Fort Worth Police Department's use, it involved information relating to a department investigation of officers that did not result in discipline, and the information is not kept outside the department's file. The Attorney General ruled that the information is not protected under section 143.089(g) of the Texas Local Government Code because it is maintained independently of the department's internal personnel files and therefore, the City must release the requested information.
In order to preserve the City's right to withhold confidential information under chapter 143 of the Texas Local Government Code, the City's only recourse is to file suit against the Attorney General seeking a judicial ruling on this matter.
Because of additional deadlines set forth in the Texas Public Information Act, the City Attorney's Office proceeded to file suit against the Attorney General on August 3, 2018. Due to the City Council's meeting calendar for the month of August, it was not possible to seek City Council action on this matter prior to that date. As a result, the City Attorney now seeks ratification by the City Council of this action.
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