Reporting on Hate in Florida: Public Records

My name is Nick Martin, and I'm a journalist who investigates hate and extremism in America. That means I write about neo-Nazis, white nationalists, militias and other types of people whose actions go against the very core of our inclusive democracy. I run an online publication called The Informant and am on Twitter at @nickmartin.

Recently, as part of my reporting on a case involving a prominent white nationalist, I filed a request for records from a law enforcement agency in Florida. I was aghast at the agency's response. To even begin processing my request, the agency is demanding more than $2,300 in fees. They say the final cost will probably be even higher.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common situation. Government agencies, which serve the public, try to use high fees to scare journalists and others away from requesting records that should be part of the public record anyway.

What is not common in this case is what the agency says it has in its files that would meet the criteria of my request:

- 6,000 documents
- 160 photos
- 19 audio recordings
- 2 videos

It has the potential to be an extraordinary trove of documents.

Your support will help ensure that these records see the light of day. Without it, we may never know what's in them.

My exact goal is $2,376 — the figure I was given by the agency. But anything raised above that number will go towards obtaining public records elsewhere in the nation.

Please consider giving whatever you can. And thank you.

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Here's an excerpt from the agency's letter to me:

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Organizer

Nick Martin 
Organizer
Brooklyn, NY
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