Police unions sue over release of undercover officers' names

Two police unions are suing the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the Metro Gang Strike Force and the Strike Force's commander for releasing the names of six undercover police officers on the Strike Force.

The Saint Paul Police Federation and Law Enforcement Labor Services served the lawsuits Thursday on behalf of five of the six officers who were named in a Star Tribune article in March. The article was about a trip to Hawaii the officers took for training.

Chris Wachtler is an attorney for the Saint Paul Police Federation, which represents the two Saint Paul police officers who were named. He said the release of their names was a violation of the state's Data Practices Act.

"I believe that if someone did this knowing that this was illegal and essentially threw these officers under the bus for whatever reason, whether it's politics or I don't know what, I think that's unconscionable," Wachtler said. "And I think the Attorney General ought to look at prosecuting them under the act."

A spokesman for the State Department of Public Safety said a document that included the names of the officers was a public document that was given to the newspaper as part of a Data Practices request.

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