RUPD Reports and Records - Death of Derek Rashawn Hicks

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Rutgers University should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Rutgers University,

Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the "Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you kindly.

Yours faithfully,

Charlie Kratovil

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

   
 
 
Dear Charlie Kratovil,

Thank you for registering with Rutgers, The State University of New
Jersey Open Public Records Center, an online, public portal. Below you
will find your portal login and password information .

Login:  [OPRA #7085 email]
 
If you have never used this system or cannot remember your password, you
may request a [1]Temporary Password
 

If you are a first time user and did not submit your request through the
public portal but are receiving this e-mail, an account has been created
for you with the login and password listed above. At this account you can
access, track and receive any documents in response to your request.

Please log in to the [2]Rutgers University Open Public Records Center and
then "My Request Center" to update any contact or password information on
your account and to view your request.

The University Custodian of Records will contact you if there are
questions regarding your request or provide you a response. If you have
questions, you may contact the OPRA Administrator at 973.972.1887.
Thank you again for registering with the Rutgers University Open Public
Records Center.
 
 
This is an auto-generated email and has originated from an [3]GovQA
unmonitored email account. Please DO NOT REPLY. logo

 

References

Visible links
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2. https://rutgers.mycusthelp.com/WEBAPP/_r...

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

Dear Mr. Kratovil:

Thank you for submitting your request for government records of Rutgers,
The State University of New Jersey. Your request has been received and is
being processed in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Records Act
(OPRA), NJSA 47:1 et seq. Your request was received through the online,
public portal [1]Rutgers University Open Public Records Center of this
office on 9/5/2019 and given the reference number R005244-090519.  

Your request will be forwarded to the Office of the Custodian of
Records for review and processing, including determining the volume of
responsive documents and any potential costs associated with satisfying
your request. Please note, the N.J. Open Public Records Act does not
require the University to create new documents, to conduct research, or to
answer questions for information.

Records Requested: Under OPRA and common law right of access, please
provide copies of the "Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident
reports and other reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions,
all MVR recordings and other video/audio recordings related to case
#2019-00107679. Thank you kindly.

The Office of the Custodian of Records uses the [2]Rutgers University Open
Public Records Center to communicate with you, respond to and track all
open public records requests.  If you have submitted your request
electronically through Rutgers Open Public Records Center portal, you have
already been required to create an account.

Notice to First Time Portal Users:

If you are a first time user and did not submit your request through the
public portal, you are receiving this request because the Rutgers Office
of the Custodian has created an account for you at the [3]Rutgers
University Open Public Records Center . 

To access your account and view your request:

1.Go to: [4]Rutgers University Open Public Records Center.

2. Select/open  "My Records Center"
3. Enter your email and password as provided in your previously received
Welcome Letter.

You can monitor your request through the [5]Rutgers University Open Public
Records Center at "My Request Center."

Thank you and if you have questions, you  may contact the OPRA
Administrator at (973) 972-1981.

 

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

University Custodian of Records

Office of Enterprise Risk Management, Ethics and Compliance

65 Bergen Street, Ste. 1346 

Newark, New Jersey 07101-1709

Phone: (973) 972-1981

Fax: (973) 972-2396

References

Visible links
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2. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
3. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
4. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
5. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request # R005244-090519

 

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On September 05, 2019, this office received your request for the
following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

The University has reviewed your request and requires an extension
until September 23, 2019.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my office at
973.972.1887.

 

Sincerely,

 

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [1]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request, #R005244-090519

 

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On September 05, 2019, this office received your request for the
following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

This requested records are extensive, containing over five hours of video
footage that will require review and redaction, potentially requiring a
special service fee. Please let me know if you wish to narrow your
request, or whether we should prepare a cost estimate. 

In order for our office to process the request, please provide a response
to the above clarification. If we do not receive a clarification within
seven (7) business days, we will consider this request withdrawn and
closed.

 

You may contact the Office of the Custodian of Records through your
account under "My Request Center" at the [1]Rutgers Open Public Records
Center, phone, or via the regular mail to: Rutgers, The State University
of New Jersey, University Custodian of Records, University Ethics and
Compliance, 335 George Street, Suite 3300, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

 

If you have any questions, please contact my office at 973.972.1887.

 

Sincerely,

 

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Office of Custodian of Records

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

 

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [2]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
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2. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Dear Mr. Woods,

I have reviewed your recent response requesting clarification, and I must admit at this point I am quite concerned about Rutgers' failure to release ANY records related to this non-criminal incident from June. I have tried to contact you at the telephone number you provided, but have not yet received a call back.

To the extent you need any additional clarification as to whether or not I still want the records that I requested on September 5, I absolutely do. Please produce all records that were requested as soon as possible. I respectfully ask that you waive any fee as this is a matter of great public interest and I am the only reporter covering it thus far. Please read my article for more information: https://newbrunswick.today/rutgers-polic...

Thank you and I'll look forward to your return phone call to discuss further.

Charlie Kratovil
Editor, New Brunswick Today
732-993-9697

Dear Mr. Woods,

When can I expect a substantive response to this request? Your initial response asked for an extension until September 23. Then you asked for a clarification, which I provided. I have received no additional follow-up.

I'll be anxiously awaiting your reply. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Charlie Kratovil

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request # R005244-090519

 

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On September 05, 2019, this office received your request for the
following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

The University has reviewed your request and requires an extension
until October 8, 2019 due to a high level of requests and employees away
on leave. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my office at
973.972.1887.

 

Sincerely,

 

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [1]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request # R005244-090519

 

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On September 05, 2019, this office received your request for the
following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

The University has reviewed your request and requires an extension
until October 11, 2019 due to employee absences and a high volume of
requests. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my office at
973.972.1887.

 

Sincerely,

 

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [1]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request # R005244-090519

 

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On September 05, 2019, this office received your request for the
following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

The University has reviewed your request and requires an extension
until October 18, 2019, we are finalizing our review of the requested
records. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my office at
973.972.1887.

 

Sincerely,

 

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [1]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request # R005244-090519

 

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On September 05, 2019, this office received your request for the
following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

The University has reviewed your request and requires an extension
until October 25, 2019, we will provide the requested records as soon as
is practicable. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my office at
973.972.1887.

 

Sincerely,

 

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [1]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Dear Mr. Woods,

I must re-iterate that I very concerned about Rutgers' failure to release ANY records related to this non-criminal incident from June. This records request was initially filed on September 3 after I previously requested a formal comment about this unfortunate incident from Rutgers Senior VP of Communications and the Rutgers University Police Chief on August 27 and received no response to my questions.

On September 16, you requested an extension to fulfill this request until September 23. On September 23, you requested clarification and said you would close the request if I did not provide the clarification within seven business days. I responded immediately to the request for clarification the same day it was received. On October 1, having still received no substantive response to my request, I inquired when I could expect a substantive response. The following day you requested another extension to fulfill this request until October 8. On October 8, you requested an additional extension until October 11, "due to employee absences and a high volume of requests." On October 11, you requested yet another extension to respond to my request, this time until October 18 because you were "finalizing [y]our review of the requested records." I fully anticipated receiving a complete response no later than this date. However, on October 18, you requested an additional extension until October 25 to provide the requested records.

Respectfully, I must remind you that this particular request is one of great importance to the New Brunswick community because a man lost his life, allegedly as a result of a fatal incident that occurred on federal government property. Making matters worse, law enforcement apparently failed to make a timely notification to the family of the deceased despite having the man's birth certificate in their possession, with said certificate containing the name of the deceased's mother, a former resident of New Brunswick who still lives in the area. The records requested may reveal information about what led to this notification failure and may enlighten us all about ways that we can avoid these errors in the future.

I sincerely hope that you will swiftly produce the requested records in their entirety. To the extent that some records may be ready for release while others are not yet ready for release, please provide whatever is ready for release as soon as possible.

Thank you kindly,

Charlie Kratovil

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request, #R005244-090519

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On 9/5/2019 12:07:35 PM, this office received your request for
the following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

The OPRA Administrator has reviewed your request. The responsive
document(s) are now available to you through the [1]Rutgers University
Open Records Center. Please log in to the [2]Records Center and "My
Records Center" to retrieve the appropriate responsive document(s). You
will find the responsive record(s) attached to this email for your
convenience. 

Please note, the responsive record has been redacted due to privacy
concerns N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1.1. OPRA specifically places on the University
“a responsibility and an obligation to safeguard from public access a
citizen’s personal information with which it has been entrusted when
disclosure thereof would violate the citizen’s reasonable expectation of
privacy.” Serrano v. South Brunswick Twp., 358 N.J. Super. 352, 368 (App.
Div. 2003). New Jersey courts and the Government Records Council (“GRC”)
have consistently held that an individual has a reasonable expectation of
privacy in keeping his or her address out of the public domain. In Doe v.
Poritz, 142 N.J. 1, 82 (1995), the New Jersey Supreme Court acknowledged
that disclosure of an individual’s home address, or other personally
identifiable information, invokes privacy concerns, particularly when such
disclosure could result in “unsolicited contact or intrusion.” In order to
uphold the University’s obligations to protect an individual’s reasonable
expectation of privacy, we have redacted any and all personally
identifying information.

Please note, due to the size of the files, we have a physical copy on two
Blu-ray discs of all video recordings responsive to your request. Please
let me know how you wish to receive these records. We can provide them to
you directly, or you may pick them up at our offices in Liberty Plaza, 335
George Street, Suite 3300. 
If your request has been denied, you may take your appeal to the New
Jersey Government Records Council (NJGRC), which has mediation and dispute
resolution procedures, or you may file a lawsuit with the New Jersey
Superior Court, as provided by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, et seq. Your rights of
appeal is provided with this letter at [3]Public Facing Pages of the
Rutgers University Open Public Records Request Center. You may also review
the brochure at the [4]Rutgers Custodian of Records page or visit the
[5]NJGRC page.

If you have any questions, or wish to discuss this further, you may
contact my office at 973.972.1887.

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Office of Custodian of Records

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

 

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [6]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
2. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
3. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
4. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
5. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
6. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Dear Mr. Woods,

The response I received states that I "will find the responsive record(s) attached to this email for [my] convenience," but there are no attachments to the email. I will stop by your office to pick up the Blu-Ray discs tomorrow, but I don't believe I have the proper equipment to read them or play the videos contained within.

We'll be in touch. Please provide what you can via email if possible. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Charlie Kratovil

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

Attachments:
[1]5244_Redacted.mp3
[2]CallView_Redacted.pdf

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request, # R005244-090519

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On September 05, 2019, this office received your request for the
following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

See attached. We are available in Liberty Plaza today, Suite 3300, but
please call beforehand so we can be sure that someone will be there to
assist you. 

If you have any questions or need additional information, please feel free
to contact my office at 973.972.1887.

Sincerely,

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [3]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
2. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
3. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Dear Mr. Woods,

It was nice meeting with you and Ms. Battle today. Thank you again for your time and for welcoming me into your office. I can confirm that my computer is unable to read the Blu Ray discs provided, so I will need to obtain the video recordings in a different medium/format. Please advise how we can make arrangements for an electronic file transfer.

As we discussed, the two-page RUPD report provided today contains multiple unnecessary redactions and it appears the document was redacted in a fashion inconsistent with your stated policies. No adequate explanation was provided for why it took more than six weeks for the improperly-redacted version to be released, and I am surprised that this is the only report prepared by RUPD related to this incident. Additionally, considering the circumstances of this case that I explained previously in writing, I respectfully submit that an unredacted report should be provided to me under the common law right of access. I hope RUPD will reconsider their over-redactions and improve the timeliness of their responses.

Finally, just because one item of a records request may require an extension, it is not appropriate to withhold other records that are ready for release. The report released today was run on September 5, the same day that my request was reportedly received. As I expressed today, there was no excuse for withholding this record for an additional six weeks, just as there was no legitimate justification for redacting the name of the deceased.

Thanks again for your assistance in this matter and I look forward to working with you and Ms. Battle. I'll await your response regarding the video recordings.

Yours sincerely,

Charlie Kratovil

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request # R005244-090519

 

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On September 05, 2019, this office received your request for the
following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

The University has reviewed your request and requires an extension until
November 6, 2019. We are attempting to identify a medium in which to share
the video files. Our records center has a file size limit and the files
exceed that limit. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at my office at
973.972.1887.

 

Sincerely,

 

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [1]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Dear Mr. Woods,

I can recommend both WeTransfer.com and Google Drive as efficient, reliable and effective methods of electronic file transfer. I must also re-iterate my objections to the redactions made to these records. I don't believe RUPD ever properly evaluated my request under the common law right of access. Again, I am requesting un-redacted records under both OPRA and the common law. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Charlie Kratovil

Rutgers Open Public Records Center,

--- Please respond above this line ---

Reference: Rutgers Open Public Records Request, #R005244-090519

Dear Mr. Kratovil,

Please accept this letter as the University Custodian of Records response
to your request for records pursuant to the Open Public Records Act
(“OPRA”). On 9/5/2019 12:07:35 PM, this office received your request for
the following:

“Under OPRA and common law right of access, please provide copies of the
"Calls For Service View Calls Report," all incident reports and other
reports, all 911 recordings, all radio transmissions, all MVR recordings
and other video/audio recordings related to case #2019-00107679. Thank you
kindly.”

We are prepared to provide the requested records via direct link, however
our file sharing system requires email verification in order to open the
files. We are uncertain whether this will work through OPRA Machine. Would
you be willing to provide a personal email in order to fulfill this
portion of the request?

Please note, the responsive record has been redacted due to privacy
concerns N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1.1. OPRA specifically places on the University
“a responsibility and an obligation to safeguard from public access a
citizen’s personal information with which it has been entrusted when
disclosure thereof would violate the citizen’s reasonable expectation of
privacy.” Serrano v. South Brunswick Twp., 358 N.J. Super. 352, 368 (App.
Div. 2003). New Jersey courts and the Government Records Council (“GRC”)
have consistently held that an individual has a reasonable expectation of
privacy in keeping his or her address out of the public domain. In Doe v.
Poritz, 142 N.J. 1, 82 (1995), the New Jersey Supreme Court acknowledged
that disclosure of an individual’s home address, or other personally
identifiable information, invokes privacy concerns, particularly when such
disclosure could result in “unsolicited contact or intrusion.” In order to
uphold the University’s obligations to protect an individual’s reasonable
expectation of privacy, we have redacted any and all personally
identifying information.

To gain access to records, which are not available publicly through OPRA,
but may be available under the Common Law, the requestor must establish an
interest in the subject matter of the material. To review a common law
request, "the requestor's right to access must be balanced against the
State's interest in preventing disclosure." O'Shea v. Township of West
Milford, 410 N.J. Super 371 (App. Div. 2009). In the present matter you
have failed to sufficiently provide a personal interest in the subject
matter, which would outweigh the privacy interests involved. 
If your request has been denied, you may take your appeal to the New
Jersey Government Records Council (NJGRC), which has mediation and dispute
resolution procedures, or you may file a lawsuit with the New Jersey
Superior Court, as provided by N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, et seq. Your rights of
appeal is provided with this letter at [1]Public Facing Pages of the
Rutgers University Open Public Records Request Center. You may also review
the brochure at the [2]Rutgers Custodian of Records page or visit the
[3]NJGRC page.

If you have any questions, or wish to discuss this further, you may
contact my office at 973.972.1887.

Casey Woods

OPRA Custodian

Office of Custodian of Records

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

 

 

973.972.1887

To monitor the progress or update this request please log into the [4]Open
Public Records Center.

References

Visible links
1. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
2. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
3. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...
4. https://u8387795.ct.sendgrid.net/wf/clic...

Dear Mr. Woods,

You can email me anytime at [email address]

Yours sincerely,

Charlie Kratovil