The ACLU of Northern California is deeply disturbed following reports that staff at the San Jose Independent Police Auditor's (IPA) Office leaked inside information about complaints of misconduct to the local police union. If true, this breach of confidence severely undermines the City's already weak system of independent oversight. Longstanding structural problems at the IPA office limit its ability to be effective. The reports should serve as a wake-up call to the City that it must implement a more effective system of oversight.
It is a good sign that the new auditor has reported that transparency and accountability are key values that she intends to enforce. These problems preceded her recent appointment. The City has the responsibility to get to the bottom of what happened, and must do so in an expeditious and transparent manner in order to avoid further public mistrust. Given the serious nature of the allegations, any employees that are alleged to have leaked confidential information should be suspended or placed in positions where they are not provided access to any sensitive information while the investigation is pending.
Attorneys at the ACLU of Northern California are currently conducting an assessment based on what has been reported of whether any local, state or federal laws may have been violated. Based on what has been reported, IPA staff may have violated state criminal laws that prohibit the unauthorized release of certain information.
Local community groups continue to play a vital role in holding the San Jose Police department accountable, and are an essential part of the dialogue. The ACLU is committed to participating in and supporting these efforts.