Evans v. BOP, No. 16-2274, 2018 WL 707427 (D.D.C. Feb. 5, 2018) (Howell, C. J.)
Re: Request for records concerning certain tools allegedly maintained by BOP, as well as records concerning incident involving plaintiff
Disposition: Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment
- Litigation considerations, Adequacy of Search: The court holds that, "[w]hile short on detail, the BOP's supporting declaration demonstrates that the search was reasonably calculated to locate responsive records." "The SIS Department at FCI Gilmer is responsible for investigating inmate assaults and for monitoring and maintaining video recordings of significant events at that facility, and there staff found a video recording of the incident described in the plaintiff's FOIA request."
- Procedural Requirements, Searching for Responsive Records: The court holds that "[a]ny substantive response to the plaintiff's inquiries about the screwdriver [at issue in the incident involving plaintiff] exceeds the FOIA's scope, and the BOP was not obligated to answer questions presented in the guise of a FOIA request."
- Exemption 7, Threshold: "The Court concludes that the video recording is a law enforcement record within the scope of Exemption 7" because "video footage of an inmate-on-inmate assault maintained by the department responsible for investigating inmate assaults . . . was compiled for a law enforcement purpose."
- Exemptions 7(C), 7(E) & 7(F): "The Court concludes that the BOP properly withheld the video recording in full." "The BOP has averred that release of the video necessarily means release of the images of third parties, and such release could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of their personal privacy." "Further, the BOP demonstrates that release of the video recording necessarily identifies the location of the cameras and the methods employed in responding to or investigating incidents such as the inmate-on-inmate assault recorded here." "The BOP's reliance on Exemption 7(F)[, based on defendant's statement that "disclosure of the video means disclosure of the identities of other individuals, 'regardless of whether they played a role in the assault or the response, or failed to intervene, could endanger [their lives] or their safety . . . at a later time, particularly in a prison environment where there exist threats of retaliation and continued violence[,]'"] is not so clearly supported." "Nevertheless, its reliance on Exemptions 7(C) and 7(E) suffices, even if Exemption 7(F) does not apply."