Lawsuit Against the FBI for Racial Mapping Records

August 21, 2013

According to an FBI operations guide acquired by the ACLU, the FBI has the authority to collect information about, and create maps of, so-called racial and ethnic “behaviors” and “lifestyle characteristics” in communities with concentrated ethnic populations. Concerned that such information would be used for racial profiling, the ACLU requested documents related to this practice in Michigan under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

After the FBI refused to turn over the documents in a timely manner, we filed a FOIA lawsuit. The ACLU was then able to confirm that the FBI has been collecting data on Middle Eastern and Muslim populations, but the FBI continued to refuse to release documents describing the details. Unfortunately, Judge Lawrence Zatkoff ruled in favor of the FBI and in August 2013 Judge Zatkoff’s ruling was affirmed on appeal.

(ACLU of Michigan v. FBI; ACLU of Michigan Attorney Mark Fancher; National ACLU Attorneys Hina Shamsi and Nusrat Choudhury; Cooperating Attorney Stephen Borgsdorf of Dykema.)

To view the full 2013-2014 Legal Docket, click here.