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Jackson v. DOJ, No. 20-1276, 2022 WL 972321 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 31, 2022) (Kendall, J.)


Jackson v. DOJ, No. 20-1276, 2022 WL 972321 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 31, 2022) (Kendall, J.)

Re:  Request for videos depicting plaintiff's arrest and beating by police officers

Disposition:  Granting defendant's motion for summary judgment

Exemption 7(C):  Within the videos "the FBI covered the faces of third-party individuals and license plate information."  "Under Exemption 7(C), courts have upheld redaction of faces of third-party individuals in order to protect identifying information that could subject individuals to stigmatization, harassment, or physical harm."  "The same analysis applies to prevent disclosure of license plate numbers which could similarly result in identification of third-party individuals."  "[Plaintiff] focuses her argument on the claim that law enforcement officers conducting their duties in public cede any expectation of privacy."  "Since the government cannot waive an individual's privacy rights, the introduction of records at trial by the government or failure to introduce such records under seal is irrelevant to waiver analysis."  "In this case, the unredacted videos were shared in a limited context in a controlled environment when used as evidence in an open trial, which is markedly different from the invasion of privacy rights that would occur from unredacted disclosure to [plaintiff]."  "[Plaintiff] neglects to argue or demonstrate how inclusion of the faces and license plate numbers in the four videos is likely to advance her understanding of how the Department prosecuted the case."  "[Plaintiff] 'must establish more than a bare suspicion in order to obtain disclosure, . . . the requester must produce evidence that would warrant a belief by a reasonable person that the alleged Government impropriety might have occurred.'"  "The Department in this case put forward a reasonable basis for privacy protections and the application of Exemption 7(C) to redact the faces and license plate numbers of third-party individuals."  "In response, [plaintiff] failed to raise any public interest, much less a significant public interest to be balanced against the privacy interests of identifying information of third parties."

Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Exemption 7(C)
Updated April 26, 2022