The city of Fort Worth has again delayed the release of a report on the Police Department’s internal affairs investigation into the Rainbow Lounge raid.
The city previously said it would release the report by today (Friday, Dec. 11). But shortly before the close of business the city sent out a letter to media outlets who’ve requested the report saying it will now be released “absolutely no later than January 4th.” The reason for the delay? According to the letter, it’s taking a long time to redact the names of witnesses to the raid, which the city recently announced it won’t be releasing for privacy reasons pending an opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s Office. In the meantime, the city says it’s contacting the witnesses and asking them if they want to waive their privacy rights so their names can be included in the report.
Read the full text of today’s letter after the jump.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
When the City requested an opinion from the Attorney General on November 30th, we informed you that the City was choosing to release a redacted version of the Internal Affairs report on the Rainbow Lounge without the usual wait for the AG’s office to complete its 45-day review. That plan is not changing.
On the 30th, we anticipated that the report and its 144 exhibits could be redacted, verified and released by today, December 11th. Regrettably, the redaction and verification process is taking considerably longer than anticipated. Several departments are assisting in the process and allocating a great deal of overtime to the project, but their efforts have been hampered by medical conditions, holidays, furloughs which prohibit even exempt staff from working overtime for that week, and the usual
high volume of work. We now anticipate the release will be available absolutely no later than January 4th. All of us involved will continue to devote as much time and attention as possible to processing the report and will release it just as soon as it is properly redacted and verified.
The only information being redacted from the report is the identity of each of the civilians referenced in the report (not police officers or arrestees) and a very few references to police officers’ home addresses. The City is releasing every detail that is within our discretion to release. As mentioned in the brief, we have contacted the witnesses and other civilians to give them the opportunity to waive their respective privacy rights if they so choose. We hope that during this intervening period of continuing review we will receive the majority of any waivers that will be made so that we may include those individuals’ information in the release.
We appreciate your patience while we work to protect those who answered the City’s pleas for any and all viewpoints and evidence on this critical matter.
C. Patrick Phillips
Assistant City Attorney