DC Police Union to File Collective Complaint Against City Over Mass Data Leak

The DC Police Union plans to file a collective complaint against the city after a cyber gang leaked thousands of confidential police documents in an extortion attempt.

“Our member information is protected by law and by our agreement with the city. It appears that they cannot uphold this agreement or be entrusted with the protection of our data, ”the union said in a statement Thursday. “In the future, it will be important to understand how this happened, as well as how it could be prevented in the future.”

The Babuk ransomware group released a massive trove of stolen data on Thursday, including intelligence reports and hundreds of disciplinary records of officers, The Associated Press reported. Ransomware involves malicious software that holds data or systems hostage until victims pay attackers in exchange for restoring access.

Earlier in the week, Babuk said his $ 4 million ransom demand was met with a $ 100,000 counter offer, which he said was not enough.

Sensitive information from the confidential background checks of some police officers, including financial records, past drug use and at least one case of sexual abuse, has also reportedly been released in recent weeks.

DC council member Charles Allen, a Democrat from District 6 and chairman of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, told The Washington Times on Friday that the city needs to help those affected by the violation.

“Everyone whose personal information was released needs the support of the city, and hackers must be held accountable for endangering law enforcement and residents,” Allen said in an emailed statement.

The city offered credit monitoring assistance to some members following previous leaks, which the union says is “completely inappropriate given the nature of the data that has been released.”

The union, which represents 3,600 police officers, also wants the city’s inspector general to investigate negotiations between the city and Babuk.

Union President Gregg Pemberton said: “This is just one more nail in the coffin for hiring qualified police officers.”

“The city is trying to take away our collective bargaining rights, trying to remove qualified immunity, and now it seems they can’t even protect extremely sensitive and private data that belongs to employees,” Pemberton said. “How we are going to hire someone to work here is beyond my understanding.”

Earlier this month, he said the Metropolitan Police Department had fewer than 3,300 base officers on duty, the fewest in decades.

At least 300 officers have retired or retired since last summer, and Pemberton says most of the union members who left cited the broad police reform passed in June by the DC Council.

Pemberton says he fears more will leave unless some provisions are changed, including the removal of a new rule that prevented the union from engaging in police disciplinary negotiations.

Allen told The Times this month that the rule is a “major transparency reform.”

“Police officers should not be able to negotiate their own discipline behind closed doors,” Allen said in an emailed statement. “The Council passed legislation that recognizes that holding public employees accountable by removing discipline from the bargaining table while preserving due process protections strengthens trust in government.”

The council also established a Police Reform Commission last year that recently issued 90 recommendations, including reducing the police department and budget, as well as removing qualified immunity for officers.

Mr. Pemberton said the report shows that the commission is “clearly on a mission to defund the police in the District.”

The council is holding public hearings on the report and it is unclear when officials will vote on the proposed legislation prompted by the recommendations.

The MPD and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment on Friday.

This story is based in part on cable service reports.

Sign up for daily newsletters

Add Comment