The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia is defending a member of a Richmond anarchist group who legally obtained documents from the Richmond City Police Department that the department now wants back.

Richmond police are seeking a court order to force Mo Karn, who received information about department operations, including emergency response plans, through a Freedom of Information Act request. The department argues that some of the documents are exempt from FOIA and disseminating them would jeopardize police officers and citizens.

The police said they want to prevent Karn from publishing the documents on the Internet, but the documents have been posted since December on, which is “managed by [Karn’s] anarchist collective,” according to the ACLU.

Kent Willis, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, posed a few queries for the Richmond police.

“As a practical matter, how in the world does the police department propose to recapture information that has been placed on the Internet?” he said. “Also, didn't it occur to them that by taking this highly public and very questionable legal action they are only encouraging people to read these documents?”

The ACLU plans to file its own papers soon.