When Detroit Police Chief James White convened a town hall in September to discuss the expansion of the gun-detection technology ShotSpotter, he said it was an attempt to address what he believed to be the “misinformation” behind months of emotional protest from city residents, as well as Delay Voted by City Council members.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by a group of legal groups on behalf of Detroit residents says White and other city officials are responsible for what he denounces as misinformation.
Lawsuits focus on one 2021 city regulations This requires a detailed report to be released 14 days before a public hearing or meeting on any new surveillance technology. The agency seeking approval, in this case the Detroit Police Department, did file a report in October, but the lawsuit alleges that report was made available only months after the city council began getting involved in the issue in May.
Before the ordinance passed, ShotSpotter was first installed in two Detroit jurisdictions. But the plaintiffs in the lawsuit say expanding the surveillance technology to at least 10 more areas of the city should meet the new reporting requirements.
“They didn’t provide the detailed report and substance that was required, and they didn’t do so within the time frame imposed by law,” said Nancy Parker, managing attorney for the Detroit Justice Center, one of the groups prosecuting city officials. “We want the judge to declare that the council overstepped its powers in approving these contracts in the face of the fact that the DPD did not comply with the law.”
The city’s lead attorney, Conrad Mallett, corporate counsel, dismissed the allegations. “We believe this lawsuit is without merit,” he said in a statement, declining further comment, citing pending litigation.
After a season of debate and delays, City Council finally officially recognized $1.5 million to use ShotSpotter in parts of the city, and $7 million in other parts of the city in October.
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