Charlotte was too aggressive in blacking out DNC emails, attorney says

The Charlotte ObserverMarch 27, 2012 

The Charlotte city attorney’s office said Monday it should not have blacked out portions of publicly released e-mails related to the Democratic National Convention because the information did not pose a security risk for the event.

The city, however, said it does not apologize “for being vigilant” in attempting to thwart efforts to disrupt or do harm during the convention.

Last year, the Observer requested DNC-related e-mails from city officials. The city turned over dozens of e-mails, but most were heavily redacted, offering little or no insight into how the city is preparing or how residents could be impacted.

After the Observer obtained copies of unredacted emails that included Mecklenburg Chief District Judge Lisa Bell and Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe, City Attorney Bob Hagemann said he would take a second look at the e-mails that had been released.

Hagemann’s office on Monday released unredacted e-mails. Some detailed mundane parts of preparing for the convention.

One related to the color of paint chosen for a new Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters. That had previously been blacked out.

Another e-mail that was still blacked out was from a vendor hoping to sell the city security equipment.

Charlotte will receive $50 million in federal security funds, with up to half of that money being spent on equipment.

The City Attorney’s office said: “While the City’s initial review may be viewed as having been too conservative, the cold hard fact is that there are those that are looking for every advantage in achieving their goal of disrupting and doing harm during the convention. The City does not apologize for being vigilant in attempting to thwart such efforts.”

To read more, visit www.charlotteobserver.com.

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