Request #20-371
  Closed

I am a journalist based National Public Radio's (NPR News) west coast headquarters in Culver City, California. Under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), I am seeking the following public records on behalf of myself and NPR News:

- The audio of any 911 calls made on Jan. 14, 2020 regarding the dumping of fuel from Delta Air Lines Flight 89. The flight, which originated from Los Angeles International Airport, dropped fuel between approximately 11:30 am Pacific Time and 12:00 pm Pacific Time on Jan. 14. Multiple children and other individuals were soaked with jet fuel in the area of Park Avenue Elementary School in Cudahy, California and were treated for injuries.

As the CPRA requires (under Section 6254 F), "state and local law enforcement agencies shall disclose the names and addresses of persons involved in, or witnesses other than confidential informants to, the incident, the description of any property involved, the date, time, and location of the incident, all diagrams, statements of the parties involved in the incident, the statements of all witnesses, other than confidential informants, to the victims of an incident". 

Given the widespread public interest in the incident on Jan. 14, 2020, there is also an urgency to inform the public about what happened, why it happened, and how the government is responding. The 911 audio regarding this incident will help answer all of those questions. 

If possible, I would like to receive the audio files electronically via email or online link. But feel free to call me if that is not possible. My phone number is [REDACTED]. 


Received

January 16, 2020 via web


Departments

Police Department (LAPD)

Documents

Public

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Staff

Point of Contact

LAPD Sr Analyst Alexis N1685

Document(s) Released Public
NR20-371_911_Call_REDACTED.wav
January 31, 2020, 5:01pm
External Message   Hide Public

Dear Requester:

 

We reviewed your request for information pertaining to an incident that occurred on 1/14/20.  A 9-1-1 telephone record has been located that is responsive to your request.

 

Your request was made under the California Public Records Act (the Act). The Department is cognizant of its responsibilities under the Act. 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 exempts from disclosure records that are privileged or confidential or otherwise exempt under either express provisions of the Act or pursuant to applicable federal or state law, per California Government Code Sections 6254(b); 6254(c); 6254(f); 6254(k); and 6255.

 

Our authority to provide information is dictated by Government Code Section 6250 et seq., otherwise known as the California Public Records Act. While Section 6254(f)(2) allows for the release of some information, it does not provide for the release of 9-1-1 tapes or logs. The record may be obtained through a subpoena or court order related to pending litigation.

 

In accordance with Section 6254(f)(2), the following information from the 9-1-1 telephone call is summarized below:  

 

  • Date and Time of Call: 1/14/20
  • Location of Occurrence:330 E 93rd St
  • Date and Time of Report: not stated in call
  • Name and Age of Victim: not stated in call
  • Factual Circumstances of Incident: Jetliner/airliner dropping fuel onto the school grounds; school in pathway of LAX; Approx. 300 children and staff sprayed with fuel; school PD on site.
  • General Description of Injuries, Property or Weapons: not provided in call

 

If the call was referred to paramedics, the Los Angeles Fire Department may have records responsive to your request. 

 

Los Angeles Fire Department

Attn: EMS Records Custodian

200 North Main Street, Suite 1620

Los Angeles, CA 90012

LAFD.EMSRecords@lacity.org

https://www.lafd.org/safety/ems-billing/ems-billing-medical-records-overview

 

If you have any questions, please respond to this email.

 

Respectfully,  

 

LAPD Discovery Section, CPRA Unit

January 17, 2020, 7:34pm by LAPD Sr Analyst Alexis N1685, Sr. Management Analyst (Staff)
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Dear LAPD Discovery Section,

 

Is the LAPD asserting that it is conducting a formal criminal law enforcement investigation into the dumping of fuel from Delta Flight 89 on Jan. 14, 2020?

If it is not conducting such a formal law enforcement investigation, then the public records of 911 calls must be disclosed under the CPRA.

As you may be aware, the LAPD already discloses many 911 calls - including those involving incidents of violence - on its own website:

http://www.lapdonline.org/communications_division/content_basic_view/27361

Furthermore,  In Haynie v. Superior Court, 26 Cal. 4th 1061, 1071, 112 Cal. Rptr. 2d 80, 31 P.3d 760 (2001), the California Supreme Court made clear that the law enforcement exemption of the CPRA must not be interpreted to “shield everything law enforcement officers do from disclosure.” 

The court emphasized that “officers make inquiries of citizens for purposes . . . that are unrelated to either civil or criminal investigations.”  

The court also found, “The records of investigation exempted under section 6254(f) encompass only those investigations undertaken for the purpose of determining whether a violation of law may occur or has occurred.”

And even if the LAPD is conducting such a formal law enforcement investigation, California law and the California Public Records Act requires the following under section 6254 (f): 

"State and local law enforcement agencies shall disclose the names and addresses of persons involved in, or witnesses other than confidential informants to, the incident, the description of any property involved, the date, time, and location of the incident, all diagrams, statements of the parties involved in the incident, the statements of all witnesses, other than confidential informants, to the victims of an incident,". 

 

The audio recordings of 911 calls are clearly the most expedient way to fulfill the LAPD's legal obligation to provide these records under the CPRA.

 

 

Best,

Tom Dreisbach

NPR News

January 17, 2020, 11:39am by the requester
Request Published Public
January 17, 2020, 11:07am
Request Closed   Hide Public

Dear Requester:

 

We reviewed your request for any 911 calls made on Jan. 14, 2020 regarding the dumping of fuel from Delta Air Lines Flight 89.

 

Your request was made under the California Public Records Act (the Act). The Department is cognizant of its responsibilities under the Act. 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 exempts from disclosure records that are privileged or confidential or otherwise exempt under either express provisions of the Act or pursuant to applicable federal or state law, per California Government Code Sections 6254(b); 6254(c); 6254(f); 6254(k); and 6255.

 

In accordance with Section 6254(f) of the California Government Code, records of investigations conducted by, or investigatory files compiled by, any local police agency for law enforcement purposes, are exempt from disclosure. Should any records be located, 9-1-1 telephone calls, recordings, transcripts, witness statements and logs are either investigatory records themselves or properly part of an investigative file and therefore exempt from disclosure. The records may be produced in response to a subpoena or court order.

 

Should any records be located, to the extent the information is recorded, a summary including the time, date, and location of occurrence, the time and date of the call, the name and age of the victim, and a brief statement of the circumstances can be made available to you upon request.

  

If you have any questions, please respond to this email.

 

Respectfully,

 

LAPD Discovery Section, CPRA Unit

January 17, 2020, 11:07am
Department Assignment Public
Police Department (LAPD)
January 16, 2020, 10:56am
Request Opened Public
Request received via web
January 16, 2020, 10:56am