Tacoma to pay $50,000 for violating public records act

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TACOMA, Wash.  — The city of Tacoma will pay a $50,000 fine and legal fees for violating the Public Records Act by withholding most of a nondisclosure agreement it signed to obtain cell phone surveillance equipment known as Stingray.

The News Tribune reports The Center for Open Policing sued the city for blacking out large portions of the document after the organization requested it in 2014.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson on Friday ordered Tacoma to pay $100 a day for each day the city “wrongfully withheld the unredacted NDA from June 21, 2014, until November 3, 2015.

The penalty is the maximum allowable under state law.

The city said the FBI requested the redactions.

Cuthbertson’s order said redacting the NDA was not “essential to effective law enforcement” in a way that would warrant exemption under state law.