I have reviewed your request to the Los Angeles Police Department (“Department”) under the California Public Records Act (Cal. Govt. Code section 6250, et seq., hereinafter the (“Act”) seeking the following:
Incidents involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace or custodial officer
Incidents in which the use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer against a person resulted in death, or in great bodily injury.
Any record(s) relating to any incident(s) in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency that a peace officer or custodial officer engaged in sexual assault involving a member of the public.
Any record(s) relating to any incident(s) in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency of dishonesty by a peace officer or custodial officer directly relating to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime, or directly relating to the reporting of, or investigation of misconduct by, another peace officer or custodial officer, including, but not limited to, any sustained finding of perjury, false statements, filing false reports, destruction, falsifying, or concealing of evidence.
Any civilian complaint that is not otherwise encapsulated by the aforementioned, and is not exempt from disclosure.
The Department also recognizes that Penal Code Section 832.7 – which generally makes all peace officer personnel records confidential and undisclosable – was amended on January 1, 2019 by Senate Bill 1421 to create an exception from that general confidentiality requirement for the following four categories of officer personnel and investigatory records: records relating to the report, investigation, or findings of (i) an incident regarding an officer-involved shooting; (ii) an incident involving the use of force by an officer resulting in death or great bodily injury; (iii) an incident involving a sustained finding of sexual assault by an officer involving a member of the public; and (iv) an incident involving a sustained finding of dishonesty by an officer directly related to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime or of the investigation of misconduct by another officer. Pen. Code § 832.7(b)(1)(A)-(C).
The Department has conducted a search and has disclosable records responsive to your request.
With respect to Item 4 of your request the records you seek are not disclosable pursuant to Pen. Code § 832.7(b)(1)(A)-(C). Rather, records responsive to your request remain privileged, confidential, and exempt from disclosure under Government Code Sections 6254(c) and (k), and Penal Code Section 832.7(a). Section 6254(c) exempts from disclosure “personnel, medical or similar files, the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” Section 6254(k) exempts records which are exempt from disclosure under federal or state law, including, but not limited to provisions of the Penal Code. Penal Code Section 832.7(a) states that peace officer personnel records and information contained within them are privileged and confidential and cannot be disclosed except through discovery pursuant to Sections 1043 and 1045 of the Evidence Code. California case law holds that Evidence Code Section 1043 et seq. is the exclusive means to obtain peace officer personnel records, and as such, they are exempt from the disclosure provisions of the Act. [See City of Hemet v. Superior Court (1995) 37 Cal. App. 4th 1411]. Therefore, I am denying your request.
Please note that, pursuant to Penal Code Section 832.7(b)(5), the Department is required to redact disclosable records for several enumerated purposes, including to remove personal data or information; to protect the anonymity of complainants and witnesses; to protect confidential medical, financial, or other similar information; and where disclosure of the record would pose a significant danger to the physical safety of the subject officer or other persons. Furthermore, for electronic records, the CPRA provides that the cost to perform such redactions “shall” be borne by the requestor. See Govt. Code 6253.9(b)(2) (providing that a person requesting electronic records under the Act “shall bear the cost of producing a copy” of such records where data compilation, extraction, or programming is required to produce the record); National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward, 27 Cal. App. 5th 937 (2018) (holding that a public agency was entitled under Section 6253.9 to charge a requester for costs it incurred to edit and redact nondisclosable material from police body camera videos).
Due to the high volume of requests for SB 1421 records, requesters making broad requests for records pertaining to “any and all” or multiple incidents will only be notified at the outset whether or not the Department believes it has disclosable records responsive to their request. Additionally, the Department will no longer provide such requesters with personalized updates regarding the disclosure status of responsive records; instead, such requesters are instructed to visit the link below for disclosed records and status updates. However, requesters seeking records relating to a specific officer and/or incident will continue to receive notifications relating to their individual request.
The Los Angeles Police Department has been working diligently to respond to such requests for records. In an effort to streamline the record production process, the Department has created a SB 1421 web page where records pertaining to officer-involved shootings, categorical uses of force, sustained findings of sexual assault, and sustained findings of dishonesty will be posted weekly, if available. Therefore, if you wish to determine if records pertaining to any such incidents have been disclosed, please visit the link below.
If you have any question, please respond to this email
LAPD Discovery Section, CPRA Unit