ACLU of Northern California Seeks Records in Police Killings

New Law Allows for Access to Critical Information

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SAN FRANCISCO — The ACLU Foundation of Northern California has sent Public Records Act (PRA) requests to multiple law enforcement agencies on behalf of people seeking information about the officers involved in the killings of their loved ones.

A new law, SB 1421, went into effect in California on Jan. 1. The historic legislation makes public previously secret information about officers who shoot, kill, or engage in serious misconduct like falsifying evidence or committing sexual assault while on the job. For four decades, California barred public access to these records. 

Black and brown communities have long been subjected to police violence with little to no ability to hold officers accountable. With the help of the Anti Police-Terror Project and California Families United 4 Justice, ACLU lawyers met with some of the families impacted by police violence.

“These families deserve to know the truth and we want to help them get answers,” said Kathleen Guneratne, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU Foundation of Northern California. “This law was passed to lift the veil of police secrecy. Transparency is critical in protecting people, especially those subjected to systemic harassment, violence, and brutality by police.”

Requests were sent on behalf of family and friends of the following people:

Oscar Grant, killed Jan. 1, 2009, by BART police (View PRA request)

James Rivera, Jr., killed July 22, 2010, by Stockton police

Derrick Gaines, killed June 5, 2012, by South San Francisco police

Richard Pedro “Pedie” Perez, killed Sept. 14, 2014, by Richmond police

Richard Hester Perkins, killed Nov. 15, 2015, by Oakland police

Terry Amons, Jr. killed Jan. 12, 2018, by Pittsburg police

Stephon Clark, killed March 18, 2018, by Sacramento police

Augustin Gonsalez, killed Nov. 15, 2018, by Hayward police

Similar requests can be made by any member of the public. Visit our site for more information on how to obtain records on police misconduct under SB 1421.

SB 1421 was sponsored by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter California, California Faculty Association, California News Publishers Association, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, PICO California, PolicyLink, and Youth Justice Coalition LA.

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