Suit: Sauk Village FOIA violations ‘not by accident’

SHARE Suit: Sauk Village FOIA violations ‘not by accident’

Sun-Times file

Two women are suing the town of Sauk Village, alleging the south suburb’s violation of the Freedom of Information Act “is not by accident.”

Aisha Michel and Shirley Moore, both of Sauk Village, jointly filed the suit Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

In June 2015, a Sauk Village police officer used a stun gun on Michel’s son, a minor. The unarmed boy, who was wearing no shirt, shoes or socks, was released from police custody without charges “as it was a case of misidentification,” the suit stated.

Michel goes on to allege that, after her son was arrested and released, she submitted a FOIA request for complaints of misconduct against the officer who arrested her son.

Upon learning this, the suit stated, officers began harassing the family at their home and only stopped after the mayor, chief of police and state’s attorney were put on official notice.

Michel is asking the court to compel the suburb to fulfill a FOIA request for photos, dispatch audio and video footage from dashboard and body cameras that captured the incident, the suit stated. Michel alleges that, despite a court order to fulfill the requests, the suburb has failed to do so.

Moore alleges a FOIA request concerning records of her run-in with Sauk Village police was also not fulfilled.

In September, Moore attempted suicide, brought on by her post-traumatic stress disorder, which was diagnosed following her honorable discharge from the armed services, according to the suit.

After her suicide attempt, a Sauk Village police officer — one who Michel alleges harassed her and her family — denied Moore her PTSD medication, the suit stated. The officer was not named as a defendant.

After her release, Moore submitted a FOIA request for similar records, including radio transmissions, photos, reports and video from outside her holding cell, according to the suit.

Moore and Michel are not convinced the records they requested are in their original state.

“There is a strong likelihood, based on the Defendants’ vague responses and lack of response, that evidence may be destroyed, altered or modified prior to any litigation,” the suit stated.

Sauk Village, its police department and freedom of information office were all named as defendants.

Reached on Tuesday evening, Sauk Village police chief Robert Kowalski had no comment on the suit.

The women are asking the court to find Sauk Village in violation of the Freedom of Information Act and to order the suburb to turn over the requested records.

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