In May 2020, the ACLU of Massachusetts, together with law firm Foley Hoag LLP, sued the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) for information about a violent incident that occurred at the BCSO’s immigration detention facility.

The reported incident involved an encounter between BCSO personnel and immigration detainees that escalated to physical violence and resulted in the hospitalization of three detainees. Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson previously made multiple, detailed public assertions about the incident, including in a press conference, a radio interview, and multiple statements on social media.

The ACLU of Massachusetts previously sent a public records request, seeking audiovisual recordings, documents, and other records concerning the incident. The public records request also includes communications between the BCSO and any federal department or agency, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Executive Office of the President, concerning the incident.

The new lawsuit was filed under Massachusetts’ public records law after the BCSO issued a blanket denial of the ACLU request. The BCSO now claims all information concerning the incident must be shielded from public view.


Matthew Segal, Daniel McFadden, Kristin Mulvey (ACLU of Massachusetts); Christopher Hart, Nicholas Anastasi (Foley Hoag LLP)

Date filed

May 18, 2020