City of Lexington files lawsuit against man over surveillance cameras

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Unions say the organization will defend a local activist who's being sued by the city of Lexington.

The lawsuit is part of a dispute over information on city-run surveillance cameras. It started in July when Michael Maharrey noticed new surveillance cameras at Berry Hill Park not far from his home. Maharrey filed an open records request with the city of Lexington asking for documents related to surveillance techniques.

The city released some information, but kept back information related to 29 mobile surveillance camera, citing officer safety.

"They wouldn’t release information on how they are deployed what parameters surrounding. Nothing," Maharrey said.

Maharrey took his case to the attorney general, who ruled against the city and said the information about the cameras should be released. On September 29, the city filed suit in Civil Court, asking a judge to stop the release of the records, and for Maharrey to be responsible for their costs.

Now, the ACLU is involved representing Maharrey.

"We are not against surveillance, per se. We recognize it has legitimate use for law enforcement purposes. Our concern again is no transparency and no oversight. That creates a potential for abuse," said an ACLU representative.

A city spokesperson told WKYT's Victor Puente they couldn’t comment on the lawsuit because it is still active.

Maharrey says he would like to see an ordinance passed by the city council that would outline how that surveillance could be used.

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