On April 7, 2021, a Public Information Act (PIA) request was made to the City of Kyle on a pervious City of Kyle Police Officer. The request was for information the City of Kyle would still have on file, per the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Records Retention Law.
The information requested was also standard material requiring release.
However, on April 13, 2021, a government record was created to prevent the release of the information. The information was withheld without requesting an Attorney General ruling (which is required).
The reason for the denial was identified to be pending litigation and Case 5:21-CV-00237-JKP-RBF was listed. The Federal Lawsuit is related to Civil Rights Violations of the Police Chief for the City of Kyle.
Again, the City of Kyle must request a ruling to determine if the information is allowed to be withheld under the litigation exemption.
The Attorney General would need to know how the information would be apart of the Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit in order to provide a ruling on the information. Otherwise, the information would need to be released.
Of further concern, is the communication with the City Attorney’s Office for the City of Kyle. It was asked if the Kyle Police Department should have denied the request for information without obtaining a ruling:
The City Attorney’s Office responded to inform us the request is still being considered as an active request and a request for a ruling would be submitted on April 22, 2021:
The concern becomes the violation of the PIA; as well as, the Texas Penal Code 37.10, Tampering with Government Records.
The Kyle Police Department created a government record and signed it to prevent the release of information. The concern would never have been known by the City Attorney’s Office if we did not present the concern to the office.
This is not the first time we have had records listed as “exemption denial,” without a PIA ruling from the Attorney General’s Office. We have more than a few “exemption denials,” which were not provided to the City Attorney’s Office (as a concern), until after the time period to request a ruling has passed.
This makes those records “intentionally,” concealed or otherwise impaired the availability of the records.