Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws

Wendy S. Delmater
By Wendy S. Delmater on Sun, Dec 28, 2014 - 6:44pm

Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws

As part of the American Civil Liberties Union’s recent report on police militarization, the Massachusetts chapter of the organization sent open records requests to SWAT teams across that state. It received an interesting response. . . Massachusetts also has a long history of accountability and excessive force problems with SWAT teams.

“You can’t have it both ways,” Jessie Rossman, a staff attorney for the Massachusetts ACLU, told me in a phone interview. “The same government authority that allows them to carry weapons, make arrests, and break down the doors of Massachusetts residents during dangerous raids also makes them a government agency that is subject to the open records law.”

The key to this (I think) bogus "exemption" is that some of their regional agencies that coordinate things like SWAT are 501 (3) c) tax exempt.

(Cross-posted to Daily Digest)

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