Custody Records for James Earl Ray, 1968

Paul made this Freedom of Information request to Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

I should like to request the following information:-

Any and all archived material, case files and custody relating to the arrest, detention, questioning and extradition of Mr. James Earl Ray, apprehended and arrested at London Heathrow Airport on 8th June 1968 whilst travelling under a false Canadian passport under the name Ramon George Sneyd, between the dates 8th June 1968 to Present held by yourselves or originated by yourselves.

I should prefer to receive these in electronic format at this email address, however, I am happy to receive them by post if that is more convenient.

It would be helpful if you were to provide any brief notes which might be necessary to understand the context of the information provided, although I recognise that you are not obliged to do this. If for any reason you feel this request is unclear, please do not hesitate to contact me at 07514 191 531.

If you are not the appropriate authority for this request, or for part of it, please let me know as soon as is convenient.

If the information requested contains sections of confidential information, please blank out or remove these sections, and mark clearly that they have been removed.

Yours faithfully,

Paul

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Paul

Freedom of Information Request Reference No:2012060003126

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 25/06/2012.

DECISION

I have decided to refuse access to the information you have requested
under the provisions of Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(the Act).

REASON FOR DECISION

Section 8 of the Act provides:

(1)         In this Act any reference to a "request for information" is a
reference to such a request which-

(a) is in writing,
(b) states the name of the applicant and an address for correspondence,
and
(c) describes the information requested.

I am not required to process your request without information that can
later be referred to, as per Section 8 (1)(b).  The information we require
is your full name.

According to ICO guidance:
The use of the phrase "the name of the applicant" in section 8(1)(b)
indicates that the real name of the applicant should be used when
requesting information and not any other name, for example, a pseudonym.
Although one of the underlying principles of the FOIA is that the identity
of the applicant is not taken into account, it can be relevant in certain
circumstances. For example, when:

*  a public authority has good reason to believe a requester is using a
pseudonym to shield his/her identity in order to avoid the possibility
of the request being considered as vexatious or repeated;

Therefore, we are of the view that it was the intention of the legislation
that an applicant should provide their real name so that the request can
be processed in accordance with the requirements of the FOIA.
The definition of "applicant" in section 84 of the FOIA adds weight to
this as the phrase in section 8(1)(b) should be read as " the name of the
person making the request". This also suggests that the use of a false or
fictitious name is not acceptable. Therefore, where a public authority
receives a request from a person using an obvious pseudonym, there is no
obligation to comply with the request; nor would it fall within the
jurisdiction of the Information Commissioner. If a public authority
chooses not to comply with the request it should, in keeping with its duty
under section 16, advise the applicant that the FOIA requires their real
name to be provided.
What constitutes a real name?
We consider that a relatively informal approach is also appropriate in
this context. Therefore, title and/or first name with surname satisfies
the requirement for provision of a real name, as does the use by a female
applicant of her maiden name. The prime consideration is whether enough of
a person's full name has been provided to give a reasonable indication of
that person's identity.
Example:
Mr Arthur Thomas Roberts could satisfy section 8(1)(b) of the FOIA by
stating his name in a request for information as "Arthur Roberts", "A. T.
Roberts", or "Mr Roberts", but not by stating his name as "Arthur" or
"A.T.R."
In the case of a company, it is not necessary to provide the full
registered name. It will be acceptable to provide another name which
exists as a real entity, such as a trading name. Similarly, a sole trader
could provide his or her real name or trading name.
In most cases, it will be reasonable for a real name to comprise a name by
which the person making the request is widely known and/or is regularly
used by that person and which is not an obvious pseudonym or fictitious
name.

To enable us to meet your request could you please resubmit your
application in accordance with the above requirements. If for any reason
you are unable to do so, please contact me for assistance or seek
assistance from any other available source.

We will consider your resubmitted request upon receipt as long as it meets
the requirements stated above. You will receive the information requested
within the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act,
subject to the information not being exempt.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

If you are dissatisfied with this response please read the attached paper
entitled Complaint Rights which explains how to make a complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

R. Loizou
Policy and Support Officer
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk

Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

My full, proper name is Mr. Paul Coker.

Yours faithfully,

Paul

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Coker,

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2012070000617
I respond in connection with your request for information which was
received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 4th July 2012.  I
note you seek access to the following information:

I should like to request the following information:-     Any and all
archived material, case files and custody relating to the arrest,
detention, questioning and extradition of Mr. James Earl Ray, apprehended
and arrested at London Heathrow Airport on 8th June 1968 whilst travelling
under a false Canadian passport under the name Ramon George Sneyd, between
the dates 8th June 1968 to Present held by yourselves or originated by
yourselves.

Your request will now be considered in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (the Act).  You will receive a response within the
statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to
the information not being exempt or containing a reference to a third
party.  In some circumstances the MPS may be unable to achieve this
deadline.  If this is likely you will be informed and given a revised
time-scale at the earliest opportunity.

Some requests may also require either full or partial transference to
another public authority in order to answer your query in the fullest
possible way. Again, you will be informed if this is the case.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet, which details your right of
complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please email
or contact me on telephone number 020 7230 2372 quoting the reference
number above.

Yours sincerely

James Young
SC&O Information Manager
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Coker,

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2012070000617

I respond in connection with your request for information which was
received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 4th July 2012.  I
note you seek access to the following information:

I should like to request the following information:-     Any and all
archived material, case files and custody relating to the arrest,
detention, questioning and extradition of Mr. James Earl Ray, apprehended
and arrested at London Heathrow Airport on 8th June 1968 whilst travelling
under a false Canadian passport under the name Ramon George Sneyd, between
the dates 8th June 1968 to Present held by yourselves or originated by
yourselves.

I am sorry to inform you that we have not been able to complete our
response to your request by the date originally stated, as searches are
still being conducted within our archives for the material you have
requested.  As a result we will not be able to respond within 20 working
days.

I can now advise you that the amended date for a response is 30th August
2012.

May I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

If you are dissatisfied with this response please read the attached paper
entitled Complaint Rights which explains how to make a complaint.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me on 020 7230 2372 or via email, quoting the reference number
above.

Yours sincerely

James Young
SC&O Information Manager
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk
Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Dear Mr Coker

Freedom of Information Request Reference No:  2012070000617

I write in connection with your request for information received by the
Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 04/07/2012.  I note you seek access
to the following information:

·        I should like to request the following information:-     Any and
all archived material, case files and custody relating to the arrest,
detention, questioning and extradition of Mr. James Earl Ray, apprehended
and arrested at London Heathrow Airport on 8th June 1968 whilst travelling
under a false Canadian passport under the name Ramon George Sneyd, between
the dates 8th June 1968 to Present held by yourselves or originated by
yourselves.     I should prefer to receive these in electronic format at
this email address, however, I am happy to receive them by post if that is
more convenient.     It would be helpful if you were to provide any brief
notes which might be necessary to understand the context of the
information provided, although I recognise that you are not obliged to do
this. If for any reason you feel this request is unclear, please do not
hesitate to contact me at 07514 191 531.     If you are not the
appropriate authority for this request, or for part of it, please let me
know as soon as is convenient.     If the information requested contains
sections of confidential information, please blank out or remove these
sections, and mark clearly that they have been removed.

I regret that I have not been in a position to reply to you sooner. This
inquiry has recently come to my attention. I am actively checking records
for the period when the late James Earl Ray is asserted to have been in
London. To do this authoritatively, and to send to you the fullest
possible reply, I need more time than the terms of FoIA ordinarily allow.
Accordingly, I propose to answer your inquiry on or by Friday 21st
September 2012. I apologise for any inconvenience this causes you.

There are other agencies who may be able to help you. You may wish to go
to The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey,
TW9 4DU. Tel: +44 [0]20 8876 3444   http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk  
email: enquiry@national archives.gov.uk

British Library Newspapers, Colindale Avenue, London, NW9 5HE.
Tel: +44 [0]20 7412 7353

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB.
Tel: +44 [0]20 7332 3820
email:  ask[email address]

Home Office Prisons Department, www.homeoffice.gov.uk   and any Courts
where James Earl Ray may have appeared, may also have information of
interest to you.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details your right of
complaint.

If you have questions or concerns about this matter, please do not
hesitate to contact me at the email address above, quoting the reference
number.

Yours sincerely

Ruth Allen
Information Manager
In complying with their statutory duty under sections 1 and 11 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed information, the
Metropolitan Police Service will not breach the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988. However, the rights of the copyright owner of the
enclosed information will continue to be protected by law.  Applications
for the copyright owner's written permission to reproduce any part of the
attached information should be addressed to MPS Directorate of Legal
Services, 1st Floor (Victoria Block), New Scotland Yard, Victoria, London,
SW1H 0BG.
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your
communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless
absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur
during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in
this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily
represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

 

Find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/metpoliceuk

Twitter: @metpoliceuk

Paul left an annotation ()

William C. Sullivan, The Bureau: My Thirty Years in Hoover's FBI (1979)

"Thanks to all the clues he'd left we knew we were after Ray, but we had a hell of a time finding his whereabouts. As the weeks passed, the pressure on the FBI to find him grew. Johnson was giving us hell because Ray was a political liability and would remain so until he was in custody. There were rumors about Ray and the FBI: first, people said that we didn't want to find Ray; then they started saying that the FBI itself had a hand in King's murder. We had a lead that Ray had gone to Mexico, but we couldn't find him there or anywhere else.

As a matter of course, I had asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to help us find Ray. One night in early June, two months after King was shot, I got a call at home at eleven at night from Bill Kelly, deputy commissioner of the RCMP and a close friend. "I think we've solved your case," he said. The RCMP had painstakingly gone through 250,000 passport applications, checking pictures and hand writing, until they came up with Ray's alias. It worked; they traced him for us from Canada to Portugal (where he had been living with prostitutes) to England. He had tried to rob a bank in England to get some money, but naturally he bungled the job. We asked the British to move in and pick him up, which they did.

At our request, the British forgot about the bank robbery attempt so that we could bring him back to the United States on a murder charge.

Ray was in custody in London for two days before Hoover released the story to the press. He waited until the day of Bobby Kennedy's funeral to break the news so that the FBI could steal the headline from Kennedy one last time. I told Hoover that we should give the credit for Ray's capture to the RCMP. Hoover said no and the FBI falsely got the credit."

Paul left an annotation ()

"After the meeting [Martin Luther] King and his party were taken to the Lorraine Motel.

The following day King was shot and killed as he stood on the balcony of the motel. His death was followed by rioting in 125 cities and resulted in forty-six people being killed.

Two months later, James Earl Ray was arrested in London and extradited to the United States. He pleaded guilty to King’s murder without standing trial and was sentenced in absentia to ninety-nine years.

People close to King were convinced that the government was behind the assassination. Ralph Abernathy, who replaced King as head of the SCLC, claimed that he had been killed “by someone trained or hired by the FBI and acting under the orders from J. Edgar Hoover”.

Whereas James Lawson, the leader of the strike in Memphis remarked that: “I have no doubt that the government viewed all this (the Poor People’s Campaign and the anti-Vietnam War speeches) seriously enough to plan his assassination.”

William F. Pepper, who was to spend the next forty years investigating the death of Martin Luther King, discovered evidence that Military Intelligence was involved in the assassination.

In his book, Orders to Kill, Pepper names members of the 20th Special Forces Group (SFG) as being part of the conspiracy.

Even the Deputy Director of the FBI, William C. Sullivan, who led the investigation into the assassination, believed that there was a conspiracy to kill King.

In his autobiography published after his death, Sullivan wrote:
“I was convinced that James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King, but I doubt if he acted alone… Someone, I feel sure, taught Ray how to get a false Canadian passport, how to get out of the country, and how to travel to Europe because he would never have managed it alone. And how did Ray pay for the passport and the airline tickets?” Sullivan also admits that it was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and not the FBI who successfully tracked Ray down to London.

In a television interview from prison that took place in 1988, James Earl Ray claimed the FBI agents threatened to jail his father and one of his brothers if he did not confess to King’s murder. Ray added that he had been framed to cover up an FBI plot to kill King.

However, there is evidence that it was another organization that was involved in the assassination of Martin Luther King. According to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights, military intelligence became very interested in the activities of King after he began making speeches against the Vietnam War.

In a report published in 1972, the committee claimed that in the spring of 1968 King’s organization was “infiltrated by the 109 th, 111 th and 116 th Military Intelligence Groups.”

In his book, An Act of State, the lawyer, William F. Pepper points out that the committee was surprised when it discovered that military intelligence appeared to be very interested in where King was “staying in various cities, as well as details concerning housing facilities, offices, bases of operations, churches and private homes.”

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee commented: “Why such information was sought has never been explained.” "

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USA...

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

2 Attachments

Dear Mr. Coker

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2012070000617

I write in connection with your following request for information which
was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 04/07/2012.

"Any and all archived material, case files and custody relating to the
arrest, detention, questioning and extradition of Mr. James Earl Ray,
apprehended and arrested at London Heathrow Airport on 8th June 1968
whilst travelling under a false Canadian passport under the name Ramon
George Sneyd, between the dates 8th June 1968 to Present held by
yourselves or originated by yourselves. "

RESULT OF SEARCHES

The searches located records relevant to your request.

DECISION

Firstly, the MPS would like to apologise for the length of time taken to
respond to your request under the Act.  We are sorry for any inconvenience
this may have caused.

I write with regard to your request concerning “any and all archived
material, case files and custody relating to the arrest, detention,
questioning and extradition of Mr James Earl Ray at London Heathrow
Airport on 8th June 1968 whilst travelling under a false Canadian passport
under the name Ramon George Sneyd, between the dates 8th June 1968 to
present held by yourselves or originated by yourselves”.

I have today decided to disclose some of the information pertinent to your
request subject to the deletion of information pursuant to section 40(2)
of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA).  Some additional
information has been made exempt by virtue of section 40(2), section
31(1)(a)(b) and section 21(1).

This letter therefore serves as a refusal notice under section 17(1) of
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA). Please see the Legal Annex
below for any sections of the Act that are referred to in this notice.

REASONS FOR DECISION

There are a number of sections of the Act that are engaged in connection
with your request.  As explained, these are:

Section 21(1) -                 Information accessible by other means.
Section 40(2) -                Personal information.
Section 31(1)(a)(b) -        Law enforcement.

Section 21(1) - Information accessible by other means:

I can inform you that a file on the extradition of James Earl Ray may be
viewed at The National Archives.  Details of this file, and how to order a
viewing, can be found by following the below link:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catal...

As this information is already available in the public domain, it is
exempt by virtue of section 21(1) of the Act.

Section 40(2) - Personal Information:

I am unable to provide you with the name(s) and personal details that have
been redacted from the disclosed information and also some other
information that is held on this subject matter, as to disclose this would
in my opinion be contrary to section 40(2) of FoIA governing personal
information.

One of the main differences between the Data Protection Act (DPA) and the
Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) is that any information released under
FoIA is released into the public domain, not just to the individual
requesting the information. As such, any release that identifies an
individual through releasing their personal data is exempt.

Personal data is defined under the Data Protection Act as data that is
biographical in nature, has the applicant as its focus and/or affects the
data subject's privacy in his or her personal, professional or business
life.  To release the exempt information would breach principle one of the
Data Protection Act, the duty of data controllers to process personal
information fairly and lawfully, and would fail to meet Condition 6 of
Schedule 2 of the DPA as we see no legitimate interest in releasing the
information we hold in response to an FOIA request.

I am of the considered opinion not to release the name(s) and other
personal information in the documents disclosed, and the other information
we hold as disclosure of this information can lead to the identification
of third parties. To release such information could potentially allow an
individual to identify individual(s) who were involved in the original
case - either in a professional capacity (officers or those investigating)
or those who assisted us with our enquiries (such as witnesses). Therefore
in this case I am of the opinion that there is a higher threshold to
safeguard personal privacy as their legitimate expectation would be that
any personal information would be treated confidentially and not disclosed
to the public by way of a Freedom of Information Act disclosure.
 Therefore, to release the personal data of third party individuals, which
would be included within the information you have requested, would breach
the first data protection principle, as explained above. The MPS is
mindful that personal information is handled in a sensitive and
responsible manner.

Section 31(1)(a)(b) - Law Enforcement:

Section 31(1)(a)(b) creates an exemption from the right to know (section
1(1)(a)) if releasing the information would or would be likely to
prejudice the prevention or detection of crime or the apprehension or
prosecution of offenders.

In this instance we believe disclosure of some additional information that
is held in relation to the arrest and detention of James Earl Ray would be
likely to prejudice these law enforcement functions.  This is because this
information if disclosed would provide details around the methods used in
the arrest and detention of offenders and would also hinder future police
investigations by potentially stopping members of the public coming
forward to assist us with criminal cases.

As this exemption is prejudice based and qualified, I am required to
provide you with a harm and public interest test.  These can be found
below.

Prejudice Test

Disclosure of the requested information in full would require the
disclosure of multiple witness statements and copies of interview
transcripts.  Such information is provided to us in confidence, and there
is an understanding that information provided to us in order to assist
with our investigations and subsequently apprehend / prosecute an offender
is provided to us without the prospect of public disclosure.  If we were
to disclose such information, even after this amount of time, there is a
real and substantial risk of members of the public not assisting us in
future.  If this was to happen, this would significantly impact upon our
law enforcement capabilities, and result in less successful investigations
and a lower clear up rate.

Public Interest Test

The MPS appreciate that we must be open and transparent in the policing of
crime, and we attempt to do so through regular press releases, maintaining
our website, and publishing information proactively on our publication
scheme.  We also know that there is a significant interest in the details
surrounding the arrest and detention of the individual James Earl Ray, due
to his links to Martin Luther King.

However, the MPS believe these public interest considerations favouring
disclosure have been satisfied by the disclosure of these documents and
the fact that other information is already available through The National
Archives.  We believe that the harm that would be caused to our law
enforcement capabilities, and our ability to successfully investigate
crimes in future, is stronger than the need to release further information
on this topic.  This is a fact that the Information Commissioner himself
has agreed in response to a previous request for information:

“The Commissioner accepts the basic premise of the argument that some
potential sources of information are more likely to be discouraged from
coming forward if the public authority were to release the information
identifying witnesses and the details they have provided in this case. The
Commissioner also recognises that the restriction of the flow of
information to the police would harm their ability to investigate future
cases."

The MPS believe that there is a substantial public interest in ensuring
that the police have the space to carry out their work. This is so that we
can determine the most effective way in which to run investigations so
that offenders can be apprehended and brought to justice. It is obviously
in the public interest to ensure that individuals committing crime are
caught and are subject to an independent prosecution process.  Disclosure
of the additional information, in this case, would be in contrast to that.

Balancing Test

On balance, I feel that the public interest favours maintaining the
exemptions as they are applied in this case, for the purpose of protecting
the witnesses and any others involved during the investigation into James
Earl Ray, and also for protecting the confidentiality of any third parties
who may have dealings with the MPS in future in relation to the prevention
and detection of crime.

I can release to you the attached papers. After a passage of over 40
years, papers are not of the best quality.  Unclear words have been inked
in verbatim.  I hope this information, and the information already in the
public domain at The National Archives, is of use to you. Quality of the
printing of these papers is not what we would seek to have. After the
passage of time, it is the best we can achieve. If you prefer a hardcopy
edition, please contact me so that that can be arranged.

Section 16 - Advice and Assistance

As indicated to you in my recent letter to you, there are a number of
other agencies who may hold information.  Others who hold records likely
include certain American authorities, and the Home Office.  You may want
to contact them via the Freedom of Information Act, or their equivalent,
in order to make further enquiries.

The Home Office can be contacted via the below:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/fr...

For your information, the following document in the public domain may also
be of interest:

http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/sel...

LEGAL ANNEX

Section 17(1) of the Act provides:

(1)         A public authority which, in relation to any request for
information, is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision of
Part II relating to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request
or on a claim that information is exempt information must, within the time
for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which-

(a) states that fact,
(b) specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
applies.

Section 40(2) (Personal information) of the Act provides:

(2) Any information to which a request for information relates is also
exempt information if-
(a) it constitutes personal data which do not fall within subsection (1),
and
(b) either the first or the second condition below is satisfied.
(3) The first condition is-
(a) in a case where the information falls within any of paragraphs (a) to
(d) of the definition of "data" in section 1(1) of the [1998 c. 29.] Data
Protection Act 1998, that the disclosure of the information to a member of
the public otherwise than under this Act would contravene-
(i) any of the data protection principles, or
(ii) section 10 of that Act (right to prevent processing likely to cause
damage or distress), and

Section 31(1)(a)(b) (Law Enforcement) of the Act provides:

(1)Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is
exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be
likely to, prejudice—
(a)the prevention or detection of crime,
(b)the apprehension or prosecution of offenders

Section 21(1) (Information Accessible by other Means) of the Act provides:

(1)Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise
than under section 1 is exempt information.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

If you are dissatisfied with this response please read the attached paper
entitled Complaint Rights which explains how to make a complaint.  

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Ruth Allen
Information Manager

In complying with their statutory duty under sections 1 and 11 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed information, the
Metropolitan Police Service will not breach the Copyright, Designs and
Patents Act 1988. However, the rights of the copyright owner of the
enclosed information will continue to be protected by law.  Applications
for the copyright owner's written permission to reproduce any part of the
attached information should be addressed to MPS Directorate of Legal
Services, 1st Floor (Victoria Block), New Scotland Yard, Victoria, London,
SW1H 0BG.
COMPLAINT RIGHTS

Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the
decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to
review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome and encouraged to
discuss the decision with the case officer that dealt with your request.  

Ask to have the decision looked at again –

The quickest and easiest way to have the decision looked at again is to
telephone the case officer that is nominated at the end of your decision
letter.

That person will be able to discuss the decision, explain any issues and
assist with any problems.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of
the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding
access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the
decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from
the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your
complaint within 20 working days.
The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with
the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for
a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in
accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner
please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.
 Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  01625 545 700

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communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are
here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

 

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absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to
copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of
the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please
notify the sender and delete it from your system.  To avoid incurring
legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this
email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are
monitored to the extent permitted by law.  Consequently, any email and/or
attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are
authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by
email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements
reached with other employees or agents.  The security of this email and
any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned
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Paul left an annotation ()

"In mid-August of 1978, while Ray and his then lawyer Mark Lane faced TV cameras in public testimony, Blakey sprang a surprise on Ray and Lane, in the form of MLK Exhibit 92. Lane had asked for and been promised a chance to review the committee’s evidence against Ray prior to its being presented. Yet on this hot midday in Washington, DC, Lane and Ray were ambushed with a transcript of an interview with Alexander Anthony Eist, a former member of a unit within Scotland Yard. Eist made some astonishing claims, notably that Ray had not only confessed to killing King but that he had exhibited an intense hatred of blacks.

Lane was furious. Not only had he not been given advance notice so that he could research these charges, but the statements had not even been made under oath. In Murder in Memphis, Lane wrote:

The unsworn answers given by Eist could have no legal import although they were designed to seem impressive to a waiting television audience. If Blakey and his staff of attorneys and investigators suspected or believed that Eist was not telling the truth the technique they decided to employ, securing remarks which were not given under oath, would spare them the potential embarrassment of prosecution for subornation of perjury. It also permitted Eist to make false statements with the knowledge that he could not be prosecuted for perjury. Blakey had issued a license to lie to Eist.

Luckily for James Earl Ray, when one English barrister heard that Eist’s remarks were to follow the lunch break, he called across the Atlantic to reach Lane to give him some background on Eist. According to the barrister, Eist had been dismissed from the Metropolitan Police force in London after being charged with theft and perjury—specifically for having invented oral confessions. He was later found guilty of corruption. Lane was able to use this information in front of the TV cameras, and chastised the committee for its unethical conduct in bringing such a man’s testimony forward before millions of TV viewers. Lane railed:

If this information about Eist is true, which has just been given to me, if it was all public knowledge in England, in all of the newspapers as this lawyer told me, then I don’t know why your investigators in London couldn’t have found that out by reading any of the newspapers. If this is true, and if it was in the newspapers, this Committee has engaged in the most irresponsible conduct probably in the long history of Congress, and that is an awfully long history of irresponsible conduct.

Congressman Richardson Preyer answered:

…I will point out…that Mr. Devine indicated this testimony is not being offered as evidence of the truth of those statements. The Committee does not make any statement as to the credibility of the witness and Mr. Ray was only being asked whether the statement was true and any comments he may—

at which point Lane interrupted with:

If you knew of this man’s background, it was a height of irresponsibility not to inform the American people about that background. Yet, if I did not receive a phone call from the English lawyer, the American people would not know of the deceit of this Committee. This is perhaps the most outrageous thing this Committee has done.[8]

Indeed, to claim such charges were made only for the point of asking Ray if they were true, when the charges were aired over national television, strains credulity past the point of breaking. Such was the HSCA’s method, under G. Robert Blakey. So again, how fair will he be to any question of Ray’s innocence, in light of the depths to which he allowed his own committee to stoop in an effort to prove Ray’s guilt?"