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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bill to Unseal Police-Misconduct Records Dies in California


By Zusha Elinson
This is bullshit! More proof they hate being accountable!


Law-enforcement groups said the bill was unnecessary and would make police the targets of frivolous complaints

SAN FRANCISCO––A bill in California to unseal police-misconduct records died quietly in a legislative committee on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend under pressure from police organizations around the state.
The legislation was the latest battle over police transparency, as police agencies around the country have been under scrutiny for use of force and treatment of minorities.
Law-enforcement groups said the law was unnecessary and would make police the targets of frivolous complaints.
The bill would have given the public access to records of serious misconduct charges that are confirmed against officers, including racial profiling, illegal searches and seizures or job-related dishonesty. It also would have given the public access to records on police shootings and other use-of-force incidents.
More than 20 states allow some degree of public access to police disciplinary records, but California doesn't.
Police are facing more scrutiny than they have in decades, after a series of high-profile police shootings spawned protests across the country. The California bill, sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco and backed by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, was one effort to make more information public about police misconduct.
Mr. Leno said that he was “disappointed that the legislature did not have an opportunity to weigh in on this critical legislation.”
A spokesperson for chairman of the appropriations committee where the bill died didn’t respond to requests for comment.
But such bills in California’s Democratic-controlled legislature are difficult because of the strength of the state’s police unions, said the ACLU’s Peter Bibring.
“Legislators caved to the law-enforcement lobby and let the blue wall of silence endure in California,” said Mr. Bibring
Mike Durant, president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California, said that law-enforcement groups weren’t consulted before the bill was introduced and said that the changes weren’t necessary. He said that the failure of the bill “showed how ill-conceived” it was.
“This was not union thuggery in the legislature,” said Mr. Durant. “This was many different law-enforcement organizations sitting down and with the senators and talking about our concerns.”

Write to Zusha Elinson at