May 12, 2009

Seth Rosenthal mentioned in Daily Record article on Maryland racial profiling dispute

2 min

According to a May 11, 2009 article in the Daily Record, the Maryland State Police (MSP) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) clashed at the Court of Special Appeals Monday. The dispute involves documents the civil rights group says it needs to determine if Maryland state troopers are continuing to pull over motorists based on their skin color.

The NAACP is asking the MSP for documents related to internal investigations of racial profiling complaint - the MSP says the personnel action documents do not fall under the Public Information Act. Venable attorney Seth A. Rosenthal was mentioned in the article, saying the laws overriding purpose of shedding light on potential governmental wrongdoing trumps the troopers' privacy interests, especially since the civil rights group does not object to the officers names being redacted before disclosure.

This argument marks the latest round in a decades-long dispute between the NAACP and the Maryland State Police, in which Venable has represented the NAACP. The 10-year legal battle culminated in a 2003 consent order between the parties and resulted in state police having to submit quarterly reports detailing charges of racial profiling. State police did not admit to practicing racial profiling in either agreement.

The NAACP is currently seeking documents as part of its investigation of whether the MSP is honoring the spirit of the consent decree and vigorously investigating allegations of racial profiling.