Prince George’s County Sued Over PGPD’s Withholding of Public Records Related to Gang Database

PG County’s Failure to Release Gang Database Documents Violates the Maryland Public Information Act 

WASHINGTON – Today, the Chicago Justice Project filed suit against Prince George’s County for the Prince George’s County Police Department’s (PGPD) failure to comply with the Maryland Public Information Act and refusal to provide public records requested over two years ago. The Chicago Justice Project is represented in the suit by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. 

PGPD is a regular contributor to Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area’s Gang Intelligence System, a regional gang database known as GangNet that tracks the alleged gang affiliations of thousands of residents in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. The people listed in the GangNet database are disproportionately people of color. Inclusion in gang databases can lead to higher criminal sentences, loss of immigration status, and denial of public benefits. There is no way to know if you are on the database, let alone any process to contest inclusion.   

To demand transparency, the Chicago Justice Project submitted a Maryland Public Information Act request for public records relating to any gang database that PGPD maintains or may have access to, including GangNet. More than two years since the Chicago Justice Project submitted its requests, PG County continues to withhold documents that describe how PGPD tracks and catalogues individuals in GangNet and other gang databases. This, despite the fact that PG County alleges that they have “thousands” of potentially responsive documents.  

The Chicago Justice Project filed today’s lawsuit in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County and seeks a court order that PG County must disclose the requested public records and declare that PG County had violated the Maryland Public Information Act.    

“The lack of transparency surrounding PGPD’s use of a gang database is startling and should be a wake-up call for all of us,” said Tracy Siska, Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project.  “Using such surveillance tools in complete secrecy motivates our efforts to bring sunlight to these practices. The detrimental impacts of gang databases are always the worst on the most vulnerable and underserved communities. This is why we are bringing this suit today.” 

“PGPD’s active maintenance of a gang database has an outsized impact on the civil liberties of Black and Brown individuals in our community,” stated Dennis A. Corkery, Interim supervising counsel at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee. “We have seen how other gang databases have been poorly maintained despite the consequences for inclusion on them.  We need transparency as to whether PGPD is infringing on those civil liberties.”  

You can access the unstamped, accessible filed complaint here.
The stamped complaint is available here.

Related Content:  

Targeted, Labeled, Criminalized: Early Findings on the District of Columbia’s Gang Database – The Washington Lawyers’ Committee ( 

District of Columbia Sued Over MPD’s Withholding of Public Records Related to D.C. Gang Database – The Washington Lawyers’ Committee ( 

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