I have reviewed your request to the Los Angeles Police Department (“LAPD” or “Department”) under the California Public Records Act (Cal. Govt. Code section 6250, et seq., or the “CPRA” or “Act”) seeking records for two incidents. The first incident was on March 20, 2020, F009-20 and the second incident was on March 8, 2020, F008-20, pursuant to Penal Code Section 832.7 (as amended by SB1421 effective January 1, 2019).
The Department is cognizant of its responsibilities under the CPRA. It recognizes the statutory scheme was enacted to maximize citizen access to the workings of government. The Act does not mandate disclosure of all documents within the government’s possession. Rather, by specific exemption and reference to other statutes, the Act recognizes that there are boundaries where the public’s right to access must be balanced against such weighty considerations as the right of privacy, a right of constitutional dimension under California Constitution, Article 1, Section 1. The law also allows for nondisclosure of records that are otherwise exempt under either express provisions of the Act or pursuant to applicable federal or state law, per California Government Code Sections 6254(a); 6254(b); 6254(c); 6254(f); 6254(k); and 6255.
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 for records responsive to your request and did not locate any records of a type that are disclosable under Penal Code § 832.7(b)(1). 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 for incidents:
F009-20, March 20, 2020
F008-20, March 8, 2020.
We invite you to visit our SB1421 web page, where you will find similar requested records related to officer involved shootings, uses of force with great bodily injury, sustained complaints of sexual assault, and sustained complaints of dishonesty published on our web page. The Department uploads documents on a weekly basis when documents become available. Please see link below:
If you have any questions, please reply to this email.
LAPD, Discovery Section, CPRA Unit