On January 1st, 2019, SB 1421 went into effect. On paper, it was supposed to “lift the veil of secrecy” on police misconduct records that included sexual assault, lying during an investigation, falsification of reports, shootings, use of force, in-custody deaths, and other forms of misconduct. These kinds of records have already been public for years in many other states.
In application, this was met with pushback from police & sheriff unions across California. They tried to argue that the law should only be applicable to records made after the law went into effect, they tried to argue that police officers have “special vested secrecy rights in California that could never be taken away”, there were other arguments but judges struck them down.
Santa Ana Police Department tried to destroy the records, but a petition we organized and received support from the ACLU, media organizations, and community members sent a clear message to the department.
On April 23rd, the 90th day of the Santa Ana Police Department’s 90-day extension (used to process the record request), they let me know that they needed 120 more days.
Today, we became the first ones to review records that have undergone the required redaction process.
This post is about the small victories.
Here’s a selfie I took in Tijuana the day US CBP agents shot tear gas at everyone in proximity.