Three groups weigh in on racial profiling records case

National journalism groups have weighed in at the Court of Appeals in a high-profile dispute over whether the Maryland State Police should turn over to the Maryland NAACP files showing how the agency handled five years' worth of complaints of racial profiling in traffic stops.

The NAACP's effort to see the internal police documents has drawn a brief from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by the Society of Professional Journalists. The national NAACP had also filed a brief in support of the state NAACP.

The state NAACP filed a Public Information Act lawsuit against police in 2007, after state police upheld none of the nearly 100 complaints of racial profiling during the five years covered by a federal consent decree to end a "driving while black" lawsuit.

The Maryland Troopers Association has filed a brief backing the state's position that these are personnel files that are exempt from disclosure under the Public Information Act. The state's appeal of lower court rulings that said the NAACP could see redacted files is scheduled to be argued before Maryland's highest court next month.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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