DC Police Union calls for investigation, files grievance after ransomware attack on MPD

The D.C. Police Union has released a statement on a recent ransomware attack on the Metropolitan Police Department, calling for an investigation into failed negotiations with hackers who stole and leaked confidential officer information.

The union is also filing a grievance with the city for allegedly violating their collective bargaining agreement. 

READ MORE: DC police officers’ information compromised during hack, chief says

Police acknowledged last month that police computers had been compromised by a Russian-language group called Babuk.

The group demanded money from the department, threatening to release data including information on informants to local gangs otherwise. The group reportedly says it stole more than 250 gigabytes of data.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Russian language ransomware group claims responsibility for DC police hack

The full statement from the D.C. Police Union reads:

On April 26, 2021, the Union learned that foreign hackers accessed DC Government databases and stole confidential information, some of which was sensitive personnel data of MPD employees. 

It is incredibly disappointing to see how careless DC Government officials can be when it comes to protecting such sensitive information, especially those at the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OTCO). 

Our members’ information is protected by law and by our agreement with the City. It seems that they are unable to maintain this agreement or be trusted with protecting our data. Moving forward, it will be important to understand how this occurred, as well as how it could be prevented in the future. 

The Union is also calling on the Inspector General to conduct an investigation into the alleged ‘negotiations’ the City undertook with the hackers as publically reported. If these negotiations did in fact occur, it appears they were handled in an amateurish and unsuccessful manner. The negotiations around such sensitive data should not have been handled so carelessly. 

Chairman Gregg Pemberton stated, "This is just one more nail in the coffin for hiring qualified police officers. The City is trying to take away our collective bargaining rights, trying to eliminate qualified immunity, and now it appears they cannot even protect the extremely sensitive and private data belonging to employees. How we will ever hire anyone to work here is beyond me." 

The City has offered some of our members credit monitoring services in response to their information being breached. This is completely inadequate given the nature of the data that has been released. 

The Union is filing a Class Grievance against the City for violating our Collective Bargaining Agreement, demanding to be involved in the current process of mitigating the impact of this cyber-attack and preventing future disclosures of the confidential information of our members. 

The Union is also assisting members who have suffered from these disclosures in identifying attorneys to pursue individual legal claims. 

In an environment where government officials seem to blame the police for everything, the irony is not lost on our members when those same officials are guilty of such a magnificent display of gross negligence and widespread incompetence.

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