Contracts between police and city authorities, leaked after hackers breached the website of the country’s biggest law enforcement union, contain guarantees that disciplinary records and complaints made against officers are kept secret or even destroyed.
A Guardian analysis of dozens of contracts obtained from the servers of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) found that more than a third featured clauses allowing – and often mandating – the destruction of records of civilian complaints, departmental investigations, or disciplinary actions after a negotiated period of time.
The review also found that 30% of the 67 leaked police contracts, which were struck between cities and police unions, included provisions barring public access to records of past civilian complaints, departmental investigations, and disciplinary actions.
The leaked contracts became publicly accessible last week, when hackers breached the Fraternal Order of Police’s website and put around 2.5GB worth of its files online. These provide a glimpse into the influence of police unions, which Black Lives Matter activists have accused of impeding misconduct investigations, particularly after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland in April.