Some police departments in Michigan refuse to disclose citizen complaints about police misconduct, asserting that these complaints are “personnel records” exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

The ACLU of Michigan sued the East Lansing Police Department over this issue in 2016 and obtained a consent judgment requiring disclosure. Recently, a similar case surfaced involving the Norton Shores Police Department. The ACLU of Michigan filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Michigan Court of Appeals arguing that all citizen complaints should be disclosed, and we were granted permission to argue the case as well. In July 2019 the Court of Appeals issued a decision agreeing with our position.

(Rudd v. City of Norton Shores; ACLU Attorney Dan Korobkin.)