ACLU sues for Sarasota police cell records

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The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking records about the Sarasota Police Department’s use of a device that can secretly track cell phone use.

The ACLU lawsuit filed Tuesday in Sarasota County Circuit Court contends records about use of so-called “stingray” devices should be disclosed under Florida public records laws. The lawsuit says they are being withheld at the request of the U.S. Marshals Service, which said the records are federal and not subject to disclosure.

Deputy Sarasota police Chief Steve Moyer says the department disagrees with the ACLU’s position.

A “stingray” device can impersonate a cell tower, allowing authorities to track mobile phone locations as well as the messages and calls received and sent. The ACLU is asking for such police records across Florida.