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Legislative effort to expand public’s right to access police misconduct records falls short

Legislative effort to expand public’s right to access police misconduct records falls short

SB 776 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), a measure amended to clarify and expand on her landmark bill of two years ago that peeled back a layer of secrecy to records of specified law enforcement officer misconduct was not acted upon last night before the legislature’s midnight deadline and is dead for the year. 

CNPA and the ACLU were strong supporters of the bill. 

The bill would have expanded the types of police actions that would be subject to the CPRA to include additional use of force incidents (not just that which causes great bodily injury), sustained findings of wrongful arrests and searches, as well as incidents involving prejudice or discrimination on the basis of specified protected classes. 

It also would have required every person employed as a peace officer to immediately report all uses of force by the officer to the officer’s department or agency. 

Additionally, the bill would have imposed a $1,000 civil fine per day for each day beyond 30 days that records subject to disclosure are not disclosed and would have entitled a requester who successfully sued for the release of records to obtain damages equal to twice the requester’s reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.

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