St. Louis Police Must Release Internal Affairs Records to the Public, Court Finds

A circuit court judge has ruled that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department broke the law in refusing to make officer conduct complaints available to the public — and must "permanently" stop concealing those records going forward.

Circuit Judge Robert H. Dierker issued a ruling against the department last week, saying that the police are bound to release "all portions of internal affairs records that are not created solely for the purpose of hiring, firing or promoting an officer," in the summary of the ACLU of the Missouri. He also awarded $5,500 in penalties and fees to the ACLU and its client, plus legal fees.

The civil rights watchdog filed a suit last year on behalf of Curtis Farber, who filed an officer misconduct complaint in March 2013. Farber had been arrested two years prior, and alleged in a subsequent complaint to the department that the officers who arrested him had also assaulted him and threatened to file false drug charges against him.