California police need to come clean on abuse records

August 4, 2020

Two Santa Clara County corrections officers choked and abused individuals held in county jail and then tried to cover it up. Contra Costa County prosecutors were forced to dismiss criminal cases because an Antioch detective leaked confidential information to known criminals.

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s detective’s history of dishonesty jeopardized dozens of criminal convictions, including murder cases. A Capitola patrol sergeant sent hundreds of lewd texts to a young female police volunteer.

These disturbing revelations and more only became public in the past year due to Senate Bill 1421, which I authored in 2018. After four decades of secrecy on all police records, SB 1421 gave Californians public access to records on a very limited set of actions taken by police and other law enforcement who serve our communities.

For the most part, SB 1421 has worked as intended: Law enforcement agencies up and down the state have released troves of records, shining a light on officers who committed sexual assault, tampered with evidence or fired their weapons, allowing we the people the opportunity to hold both police and police agencies accountable.

 

For the full op-ed, click here.