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Indybay Feature
Tue Jun 7 2016 (Updated 06/08/16)
That Didn't Last Long: Police Transparency Bill Not Even Given a Full Vote
Tue Jun 7 2016 (Updated 06/08/16)
California Bill to Open Up Police Misconduct Records Dies in Appropriations Committee
Communities throughout California and the country continue to demand increased police accountability. Senate Bill 1286 would have shined new light on how police departments handle confirmed instances of officer misconduct and serious uses of force. California is one of the most secretive states when it comes to releasing basic information about how police investigate and address wrongdoing by officers, including racial profiling, sexual misconduct, and officer-involved shootings. States like Texas, Kentucky, Utah, and about a dozen others make these records public when a department finds that an officer engaged in misconduct.

Police "unions" and lobbyists like the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) fought to maintain the secrecy police enjoy in the state and once again legislators cowed to their wishes. SB 1286, introduced on February 19 by state Senator Mark Leno, was held in the Senate Appropriations committee on May 27. The last major attempt at a similar statewide reform was 2007, which also died in committee. Who knows when the next will be?

“Today is a sad day for transparency, accountability, and justice in California,” said Peter Bibring, police practices director for the ACLU of California. “Last year, 211 people were killed by police in California – more than in any other state – yet state law will continue to shield from public view the full findings of investigations into each and every one of these and all future killings.”

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Related Feature: California's Police Bill of Rights Challenged in State House
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