Suit seeks to force TPD to relinquish records from cell-phone trackers

2014-03-10T12:48:00Z Suit seeks to force TPD to relinquish records from cell-phone trackersPatrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Working on behalf of a freelance investigative reporter, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit in Pima County Superior Court against the City of Tucson and the Tucson Police Department.

Mohamad Ali "Beau" Hodai is the plaintiff in the case that seeks the release of documents related to a mobile-phone tracking system TPD purchased in 2010.

The Stingray systems, sold by the Harris Corp., allow law enforcement to locate and track the cell phones' of specific users.

Among the documents Hodai, a freelancer working with the Center for Media and Democracy, sought were records created through TPD's use of the systems, communications discussing the use of the systems and communications that mention Harris Corp.

He made the requests in late 2013. 

The lawsuit claims police officials redacted portions of the few documents provided in response to Hodai's request. The suit says this was done at the behest of Harris in defiance of Arizona public records laws.

Hodai requests that a judge order TPD to release all the documents requested, enjoin the city from withholding the items and award him costs and attorneys' fees.

Read a Wall Street Journal story about the Stingray device here.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or pmcnamara@azstarnet.com. On Twitter @pm929.

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