Today, in a ruling in Contra Costa Superior Court, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) blocked an effort by six police unions that are seeking to prevent the enforcement of SB 1421 by keeping files private that were created before January 1, when the new law took hold. SB 1421 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.
The ACLU represented Richard Perez who is seeking records related to the killing of his 24 year-old son, Pedie Perez, by a Richmond Police Officer in 2014. “Mr. Perez deserves to know what happened to his son on that fateful night,” 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.”
Unions representing police officers in Antioch, Richmond, Martinez, Walnut Creek, and Concord, and Contra Costa County may appeal the ruling, but today’s decision gives hope to those who have long fought for such disclosures, especially Black and brown communities that have long been subjected to police violence.
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.
The order can be found here: https://www.aclunc.org/docs/SB_1421_Order_2.8.2019.pdf