The case of Los Angeles Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach arose after the Los Angeles Times sought the names of officers engaged in police shootings in Long Beach during a five-year period.
The court held that disclosure was not prevented by specific provisions of the CPRA such as those relating to personnel records and disciplinary investigations. Absent a more compelling showing of the need to protect a particular officer from threats or retaliation the names of officers involved in deadly force police shootings in California are publically available.
The case is the latest in a line of cases addressing the competing considerations surrounding police brutality and deadly force police shootings in California. This time transparency triumphed over secrecy.
The Court quoted from the 2007 California Supreme Court POST opinion: “The public interest in the conduct of peace officers is substantial: ‘Peace officers hold one of the most powerful positions in our society; our dependence on them is high and the potential for abuse of power is far from insignificant…. Misuse of…authority can result in significant deprivation of constitutional rights and personal freedoms, not to mention bodily injury and financial loss.’”