The ACLU of New Hampshire yesterday filed a lawsuit, representing both itself and the Concord Monitor news outlet, against the City of Concord seeking unredacted copies of documents relating to a $5,100 line item in the police department’s budget for “covert communications equipment.” The ACLU of NH and Concord Monitor had previously filed Right-to-Know requests with the city, and received 29 pages of heavily redacted documents in response.
Henry Klementowicz, staff attorney at the ACLU of New Hampshire, said, “Using taxpayer money to fund secret police equipment is deeply troubling. The public has a right to know what the City of Concord and its police department spend their money on, and why the City wants to keep this secret equipment hidden from public view. This right-to-know request is at the very heart of what the law was designed to do: promote transparency.”
The City of Concord redacted the name of the vendor, the signature block of the person signing the contract for the vendor, the choice of law provision in the contract, the nature of the services, the types of information the vendor gathers, and what the vendor does with the wide variety of information it does gather. Troublingly, the contract the City produced includes a broad nondisclosure agreement that prohibits the City from sharing the existence or nature of the secret equipment from courts, grand juries, and defense counsel.