D.C. audit finds police hampered free speech probe

WASHINGTON (AP) - A District of Columbia auditor says police hampered a probe into whether the department complied with a new law regulating how they investigate groups exercising free speech rights.

The Washington Post reports that the report expected to be released Friday found the department refused to turn over un-redacted emails from undercover officers. Because of that, the auditors say in their report that they don't know how police monitored, investigated and possibly infiltrated organizations planning demonstrations.

Mass arrests of protesters in 2000 and 2002 led to nearly $22 million in court settlements and prompted the new law.

The audit also says police launched sensitive investigations without proper authorization or oversight.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier denies the finding in her written response.