Judicial Watch announced today the U.S. Capitol Police seeks to shut down a public records lawsuit for January 6 disturbance video and emails by arguing to a federal court that the requested are “not public records.”
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit in February 2021 under the common law right of access to public records after the Capitol Police refused to provide any records in response to a January 21, 2021, request for:
- Email communications between the U.S. Capitol Police Executive Team and the Capitol Police Board concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021.
- Email communications of the Capitol Police Board with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the security of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The timeframe of this request is from January 1, 2021 through January 10, 2021.
- All video footage from within the Capitol between 12 pm and 9 pm on January 6, 2021.
The USCP’s camera security system, including footage recorded by it within the Capitol and sought by [Judicial Watch], is solely for national security and law enforcement purposes.
Access to video footage from the USCP’s camera security system is limited to narrow circumstances and strictly controlled by USCP policy.
The USCP has not made any public disclosures of video footage from January 6 from its camera security system.
There are currently pending criminal investigations and prosecutions of individuals involved in the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
There are currently pending congressional investigations into the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
In its motion, the Capitol Police also argues the case should be closed because, among other assertions, even if the records Judicial Watch asks for are “public records,” the USCP’s interests in confidentiality “outweigh any public interest in those materials.”
It also claims not to have access to many of the emails sought by Judicial Watch.