September 21, 2021 09:32

California Law Enforcement Continues to Resist Open Records Requests

More than two years after the passage of a California law that rolled back secrecy on decades of law enforcement misconduct and use-of-force records, agencies throughout the state, such as the California Highway Patrol, the Oakland Police Department, and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, are failing to comply despite being sued for noncompliance, reports The Appeal.

The lawsuits are a result of Senate Bill 1421, the 2018 law authored by state Senator Nancy Skinner, which made public several categories of records—including investigations of police shootings, uses of force resulting in great bodily injury, and cases in which officers were disciplined for sexual misconduct and dishonesty—all previously deemed off-limits by the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights. But since SB 1421 went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, departments have been joined in their resistance by California’s police unions that have filed at least 20 separate lawsuits in county courts to prevent public access to the files by claiming that retroactive application violates their members’ rights.

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