Anne Arundel County police released hundreds of documents this week regarding media inquiries on topics as broad as gang investigations, cold cases and school shootings, but none of those are any use to the group looking into allegations against County Executive John R. Leopold, ACLU officials said.
In response to a public information request made by the American Civil Liberties Union and area newspapers, police provided reams of documents detailing how the police department interacts with the media — but little information about Leopold and an "enemies" list the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland alleges he kept.
"They're not providing any information that's related to the investigation," said Meredith Curtis, an ACLU spokeswoman.
None of the documents appear to directly pertain to the ACLU's investigation into whether Leopold asked police to gather information about political opponents. Many, including an email entitled "State Delegate request," were blacked out.
In its response to the request, the county police department said it had withheld documents for many reasons, including attorney-client privilege and medical confidentiality.
"Likewise, any e-mails that were created and maintained for law enforcement investigative purposes have not been provided," the county's letter concludes.
The hundreds of documents show how Leopold's office inserted his quotes in police news releases and how the police department cataloged positive news stories to put in a "PR" book, but mainly the documents are emails between police department staff determining how to respond to various reporters' questions about unrelated cases, such as homicides, inmate escapes and SWAT team raids.
"The response is largely meaningless," Curtis said. "It doesn't show which of the documents provided are responsive to which part of the request. They're broadly saying that information is being withheld without saying what kinds of information is being withheld."
Through a spokesman, Leopold and the police department declined to comment.
Previous disclosures have shown Leopold improperly accessed databases to gather information on at least three people on an "enemies" list, the ACLU has alleged. Among those was Lewis Bracy, a recently retired National Security Agency police officer and community activist, who is also mentioned in the latest disclosure. In documents released this week, police acknowledged searching his record in November of 2009.
Bracy could not be reached for comment.
Leopold, a Republican, was indicted March 2 on four counts of misconduct in office and one count of misappropriation of county funds. According to court papers filed by the state prosecutor, he directed officers on his executive protection detail to arrange frequent sexual rendezvous with a county employee and to perform personal and political errands, including investigating opponents and maintaining files on them.
An Anne Arundel County judge is now weighing a defense request to dismiss the criminal charges or split them for multiple trials.