Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Newsom Proposes Rolling Back Access to Police Misconduct Records
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 10 months ago on
June 19, 2023

Share

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has proposed an end to public disclosure of investigations of abusive and corrupt police officers, handing the responsibility instead to local agencies in an effort to help cover an estimated $31.5 billion budget deficit.

The proposal, part of the governor’s budget package that he is still negotiating with the Legislature, has prompted strong criticism from a coalition of criminal justice and press freedom groups, which spent years pushing for the disclosure rules that were part of a landmark law Newsom signed in 2021.

The law allows the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to investigate and decertify police officers for misconduct, such as use of excessive force, sexual assault and dishonesty. It requires the commission to make public the records of decertification cases.

The Newsom administration now wants to get rid of that transparency element. The commission says the public could still get the records from police departments. But advocates say local police departments often resist releasing that information.

A number of states with a police decertification process, including Republican-led ones such as Tennessee and Georgia, require state agencies to divulge records of police misconduct.

In Tennessee, records made available through the requirement provided a slew of new details on police officers’ actions when they brutally beat Tyre Nichols, a Black man, during a traffic stop earlier this year. Those details, released by the state police certification commission, were not previously made public by the local police department.

“It’s a slap in the face to the family members who have had their loved ones stolen from them that … a key provision of the decertification process is not being honored,” J Vasquez, of social justice group Communities United For Restorative Justice, said at a news conference last week.

Removing the transparency element from the 2021 law would continue eroding public trust, Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Tamisha Torres-Walker said. The city, 45 miles east of San Francisco, was shaken after a federal investigation found more than half of the officers in the Antioch police force were in a group text where some officers freely used racial slurs and bragged about fabricating evidence and beating suspects.

“To say, ‘go to the very people who commit the crimes against your community and ask them to reveal themselves to you so that you can hold them accountable,’ I don’t think that’s a fair process,” Torres-Walker said.

The coalition of more than 20 groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, also accused the Democratic governor of abusing the budget process to push through his proposal introduced in April.

Carmen-Nicole Cox, director of government affairs for ACLU California Action, said Newsom’s proposal should have gone through the traditional legislative process, instead of being put into the budget.

Democratic Sen. Steven Bradford, who authored the 2021 landmark bill, declined to comment on the proposed change.

Presented as Cost Saving Effort

The governor’s office referred questions to the commission, whose spokesperson said the proposed change is a cost-saving measure that would still allow the public to access information on decertification cases from local police departments. California is facing a nearly $32 billion budget deficit this year after enjoying several years of record-breaking surpluses and the proposal is one of many of Newsom’s cost-cutting measures.

Neither the governor’s office nor the commission shared how much money the state could save under the proposal.

According to a May budget request, the commission estimated it will handle up to 3,500 decertification cases each year. That’s about 4% of all officers in California. The commission, which has suspended or decertified 44 police officers so far this year, requested an additional $6 million to handle the large number of complaints.

“Because of the substantial fiscal implications, as well as the need to urgently implement these cost-saving measures into law, the budget process is the most appropriate avenue for this,” commission spokesperson Meagan Poulos said in a statement.

For decades, police officers in California have enjoyed layers of legal protections helping shield most of law enforcement misconduct records from public scrutiny, First Amendment Coalition Legal Director David Loy said.

In 2018, things began to shift after the Legislature passed a bill requiring the disclosure of records pertaining to police misconduct including use of excessive force, sexual assault and dishonesty. That law was expanded in 2021 to include the release of investigations into police racist or biased behavior, unlawful searches or arrests and use of unreasonable force.

The 2021 decertification law was hailed as another mechanism to hold law enforcement accountable.

“California has always been a black hole for police transparency,” said Loy, whose group is part of the coalition opposing the change. “The last thing California should be doing is taking any step backward on police transparency.”

The state Legislature passed its own version of the state budget Thursday to meet its deadline without including Newsom’s proposed change to the decertification process. Legislative leaders and the governor’s office will continue negotiations to finalize the budget by the end of the month.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Boeing’s Financial Woes Continue, While Families of Crash Victims Urge US to Prosecute

DON'T MISS

Police Tangle With Students in Texas and California as Wave of Campus Protest Against Gaza War Grows

DON'T MISS

Meet the Valley Republican Predicting a November Win Over Esmeralda Soria

DON'T MISS

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

DON'T MISS

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

DON'T MISS

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

DON'T MISS

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

DON'T MISS

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Wants to Meet Netanyahu, Pledges Aid for Gaza Children

DON'T MISS

Fong Won’t Debate Boudreaux, but We Get Hot Topic Answers Anyway

DON'T MISS

Legislation Pandering to Tribal Casinos Is a Bad Bet for Fresno Cardroom Employees

UP NEXT

Fong Won’t Debate Boudreaux, but We Get Hot Topic Answers Anyway

UP NEXT

Arizona Just Revived an 1864 Law Criminalizing Abortion. Here’s What’s Happening in Other States

UP NEXT

Costa Seeks Legislation to Prevent Reedley Lab Repeat

UP NEXT

Sacramento Bee Accused of Mangling the Facts About Fish Caught in Pumps

UP NEXT

Tabloid Publisher Says He Pledged to Be Trump Campaign’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ During 2016 Race

UP NEXT

CA Lawmakers Reject Bill Cracking Down on Utilities Spending Customers’ Money

UP NEXT

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

UP NEXT

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

UP NEXT

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

UP NEXT

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

7 hours ago

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

7 hours ago

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

9 hours ago

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

Local Education /

10 hours ago

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Wants to Meet Netanyahu, Pledges Aid for Gaza Children

10 hours ago

Fong Won’t Debate Boudreaux, but We Get Hot Topic Answers Anyway

11 hours ago

Legislation Pandering to Tribal Casinos Is a Bad Bet for Fresno Cardroom Employees

11 hours ago

About 1 in 4 US Adults Over 50 Say They Expect to Never Retire, an AARP Study Finds

12 hours ago

Biden Signs a $95 Billion War Aid Measure With Assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

12 hours ago

Ancestry Website to Catalogue Names of Japanese Americans Incarcerated During World War II

13 hours ago

Boeing’s Financial Woes Continue, While Families of Crash Victims Urge US to Prosecute

Boeing said Wednesday that it lost $355 million on falling revenue in the first quarter, another sign of the crisis gripping the aircraft ma...

6 hours ago

6 hours ago

Boeing’s Financial Woes Continue, While Families of Crash Victims Urge US to Prosecute

6 hours ago

Police Tangle With Students in Texas and California as Wave of Campus Protest Against Gaza War Grows

CA District 27 Assembly candidate Joanna Garcia Rose
6 hours ago

Meet the Valley Republican Predicting a November Win Over Esmeralda Soria

7 hours ago

Wired Wednesday: Construction Workers on 2018 Fresno Unified Project Still Not Paid

7 hours ago

Slumping California Risks Losing World’s ‘5th Largest Economy’ Title

9 hours ago

Ukraine Uses Long-Range Missiles Secretly Provided by US to Hit Russian-Held Areas, Officials Say

Local Education /
10 hours ago

Upward Bound: Edison High’s Garcia Headed to Johns Hopkins

10 hours ago

Boxing Star Ryan Garcia Wants to Meet Netanyahu, Pledges Aid for Gaza Children

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend