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Indybay Feature
Tue Feb 23 2016 (Updated 04/18/16)
California's Police Bill of Rights Challenged in State House
New California Bill Promises Increased Transparency in Law Enforcement Misconduct Records
On February 19, State Senator Mark Leno introduced SB 1286, a bill allowing greater public access to police records related to serious uses of force and sustained charges of misconduct. While California statutes and case law prevent the disclosure of most peace officer records, states such as Texas, Kentucky, Utah, and several others, make information available to the public when an allegation of misconduct has been confirmed. At least 10 other states, including Florida, Ohio and Washington, also make these same records public regardless of whether the incident has been confirmed.

The California Police Bill of Rights as it is known today could be on its way out if California SB1286 becomes law, shining increased light on police misconduct in the state. Police "unions" and lobbyists like the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) are expected to fight to maintain the secrecy that currently shields their bad behavior — and legislators historically tend to kowtow to their wishes. The public, however, clearly wants greater access to police records. Polling data shows that nearly 80 percent of Californians believe the public should have access to the findings of police misconduct.

photo Read More | Deadly Secrets: How California Law Has Shielded Oakland Police Violence (2011) | The Police Bill of Rights, Copley, and Where We Are Today in CA with Police Accountability (2009)
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