Without discussion, Saline City Council denied an attorney's Freedom of Information Act appeal for Saline Police Department manuals and procedures.
The motion to deny the FOIA appeal was bundled in council's consent agenda, Monday night. The consent agenda is typically approved without discussion. Following the meeting, Mayor Brian Marl declined to comment on his reasons for denying the FOIA appeal.
Attorney Jeffrey Hall, of Saline Legal Group, is defending a 20-year-old Saline man who was arrested for underage drinking in July. Hall, seeking to have the charge dismissed, submitted a FOIA request to Saline Police Department, asking for manuals and procedure documents relating to:
- Handcuffing individuals under arrest
- Handcuffing people who are not under arrest, including placing individuals in police vehicles.
- Arresting individuals.
- Administering preliminary breathalyzer tests and the Data Master test.
On Dec. 26, Saline Police Chief Larry Hrinik denied Hall's FOIA request for policies and procedures because the information would “disclose law enforcement investigative techniques or procedures,” and that releasing the information did not outweigh the public interest of keeping staff manuals private.
Hrinik invited Hall to appeal the FOIA denial to City Manager Todd Campbell or take up the matter in court.
Hall appealed the request to Campbell, writing that “withholding (the documents) frustrates a legitimate public interest, that is whether an officer followed his own department's policies and procedures incident to arrest.”
Hall wrote that the material should be released unless the government can show that disclosure would risk circumvention to lawful agency regulation.