Opinion: Passing SB 16 will bring transparency to police misconduct

May 27, 2021

The recent conviction of Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd was a substantial step forward for police accountability — but it was also a rare exception. Far too many Derek Chauvins have gone free for far too long.

This will not stop until police misconduct is routinely and systematically exposed to public scrutiny.

California took an important step with Senate Bill 1421 by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, in 2018. That law opened up access to police records that have been hidden for decades, leading to essential watchdog journalism that has shined a bright light on policing in our communities.

But there’s much more to do. At the First Amendment Coalition, we work every day to make sure governments are accountable and a substantial amount of that work focuses on police transparency.  That’s why we strongly supported SB 1421, have fought attempts in the courts to weaken it, and why we support Skinner’s SB 16, to further improve police transparency.


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