City Cannot Block Release of NYPD Materials from Republican National Convention, Federal Court Rules

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
January 22, 2007 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States


NEW YORK – A federal judge today rejected the city’s attempt to block the New York Civil Liberties Union from making public extensive information on the mass arrests and detentions that occurred during the 2004 Republic National Convention.

In a sweeping decision, federal judge James C. Francis IV ruled that the NYCLU is free to release NYPD documents, deposition testimony, and videotapes about all aspects of the Convention, including mass arrests, conditions at Pier 57, and various policies deployed by the Department during the Convention.

“The public has an important interest in knowing what was behind the NYPD’s mass arrest and detention of protesters during the Convention,” said NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn, who is lead counsel on the NYCLU’s Convention cases. “Now that the federal court has rightly recognized that the NYPD’s Convention actions cannot be kept secret, we look forward to sharing these materials with the public.”

The NYCLU filed two lawsuits in October 2004 challenging mass arrest, prolonged detention, and fingerprinting of Convention protesters. In pre-trial discovery, the NYCLU collected thousands of pages of city documents, recorded sworn testimony of many high-level Department officials, and obtained many NYPD videotapes taken of protest activity. City officials attempted to prevent the NYCLU from releasing the voluminous materials, but today’s ruling clears the way for the NYCLU to make the information public.

“It’s been said that democracy dies behind closed doors,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “We intend to keep it alive. We will continue to fight efforts by the government to hide its actions from pubic view.”

The NYCLU said it will release the Convention materials covered by today’s ruling as soon as possible.

More information on the Convention protests is online at:

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The latest in Free Speech

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Free Speech

Free Speech issue image

Protecting free speech means protecting a free press, the democratic process, diversity of thought, and so much more. The ACLU has worked since 1920 to ensure that freedom of speech is protected for everyone.