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  • Mayor, police chief back bill to open police disciplinary records

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...nes-california

    Police union officials say they will fight efforts to reopen hearings to the public.
    By Matt Lait, Times Staff Writer
    March 28, 2007


    Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have officially endorsed a state Senate bill aimed at increasing the public's access to police disciplinary records, a legislative spokesman said Tuesday.

    Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) is proposing to "reverse a Supreme Court decision that requires police departments across the state to keep information from the police disciplinary hearings secret."

    Romero's office said Tuesday that the bill was filed after discussions with Los Angeles' mayor and police chief. Winning their support, a spokesman said, improves its chance of passage.

    "We wanted to make sure everyone was on board," said Russ Lopez, a spokesman for Romero's office.

    Police union officials say they intend to fight any efforts to chip away at police privacy rights, which were strengthened last summer as a result of Copley Press Inc. vs. Superior Court of San Diego. In that case, the court prohibited public disclosure of personnel records of a sheriff's deputy appealing discipline at a county civil service commission.

    Following that ruling, LAPD officials denied public access to disciplinary hearings that traditionally had been open. A public outcry erupted earlier this year when a disciplinary panel secretly exonerated an officer involved in one high-profile shooting, even though the civilian Police Commission had said the officer should be punished.

    Community and city leaders criticized the closed-door decision and called for reforms that would reopen the hearings. Bratton and Villaraigosa said they would support such a move.

    The bill is expected to be debated by a legislative committee next month. Romero's bill is the second to seek greater public access to police records. Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) sponsored a similar bill earlier this month.

    "A return to sunshine and accountability in our police departments will only increase the public's confidence," Romero said.
    [email protected]

  • #2
    THE CASE IN QUESTION:(by an LAPD Officer)
    http://article.nationalreview.com/?q...ZjZTRkMTgxZTA=








    John W. Mack was appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa in August of 2005. He served as President of the Los Angeles Urban League from August of 1969, until his retirement in 2005. Mack began his career with the Urban League in Flint, Michigan in 1964 and was appointed Executive Director in 1965. Prior to heading the Los Angeles Urban League, he served on the Urban League’s National staff for six months during the Whitney Young era in Washington, D.C. Mack was a leader in the 1960 student civil rights movement in Atlanta


    Commissioner Skobin has served as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for more than twenty years, reaching the rank of Reserve Commander


    Shelley Freeman
    Commissioner



    Andrea Sheridan Ordin was appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa in July of 2005. She is Senior Counsel in the Los Angeles office of Morgan Lewis, a full service law firm with offices throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. She practices in the Litigation section, and also serves as head of the Los Angeles pro bono practice


    Anthony Pacheco was appointed to the Board of Police Commissioners by Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa in July of 2005. He is a Partner with the internationally-recognized law firm of Proskauer Rose. His practice is focused on litigation and quasi-litigation matters, including white-collar criminal defense, special investigations, investor and financial institution fraud, securities, accounting fraud, complex business, environmental and entertainment cases, and trial practice.

    Comment


    • #3
      . . .and your question/point is?

      Comment


      • #4
        Also noticed that Bratton has issued new flashlights to patrol officers on the street since the incident of the officer hitting a man with one. Too sad there is so much politics in LA.

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        • #5
          L.A. scares me, just thinking about it.

          Too many things like the politics going on. I just wonder how they get things done on that side of the country with all the politicking going on.

          I thought here in NYC was bad, but we stand too much to lose if the city council didn't have their act together.

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          • #6
            So Bratton reveals himself to be just a political whore. I haven't worked for LAPD, and know that he had his flaws, but it sure doesn't look like any of the chiefs they've had since Daryl Gates measured anywhere close to him.
            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ateamer
              So Bratton reveals himself to be just a political whore. I haven't worked for LAPD, and know that he had his flaws, but it sure doesn't look like any of the chiefs they've had since Daryl Gates measured anywhere close to him.
              That was obviously a different time. What you have now is a city thats very critical of the police... so in return you now have a very PC department afraid of liability. It's unfortunate, and the crime/gangs/drugs that sprawls there is evident of this problem.

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              • #8
                Disciplinary Records

                Of all the members of the Police Commission, only one seems to have any police experience at all. I don't know of any cops empowered to sit in judgement of Urban League officials or attorneys. Bratton might be an okay Chief, but I've often suspected that he'd sell an Officer down the road in order to keep the politicians happy. I grew up in LA in the fifties, and I realize much has changed. W.H. Parker or Daryl Gates probably wouldn't last in today's politically correct environment. Legend has it that once, in the fifties, a City Councilman asked what Parker's budget was for a particular year. Parker's reply was "That's none of your business". Seems like the councilman would have, or should have known the answer to his own question. Certainly, Officers and agencies should be accountable. So should the political hacks that call themselves elected officials. It's amazing how much spin doctoring, and pandering for a vote goes on our cities these days.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There's something about this issue that most of you were unaware of. Under California's Peace Officers Bill of Rights, internal affairs investigations have always been and continue to be confidential, and are not subject to public disclosure. Neither Bratton nor the city are challenging that.

                  However, if discipline resulted from an I/A and the officer appealed, the matter always went to a public hearing. Because these hearings were public, that meant anyone who wanted to could attend attended and any evidence presented now fell within the public domain. In a recent and obscure ruling, one of our courts decided that the privacy provisions of the Peace Officers Bill of Rights now extends to the appeals hearing, that the public may not attend such hearings and any evidence provided at them may not be made public. This contravenes a basic principle in American law that trials are open to the public both to ensure that the public is informed and to prevent the accused from being railroaded in a star chamber proceeding.

                  This unusual court decision came back to bite law enforcement a few months ago when an LAPD board of rights exonerated an officer accused of excessive force in a high profile shooting. What little information that was public made it look like a bad shooting and certain segments of the community and press made extensive attempts to crucify the officer After a careful examination of the facts, the Board of Rights found that the officer was justified in his conduct and would not be disciplined. In their written finding, the Board explained their logic in such simple detail that even a life member of the ACLU could understand and appreciate it. But, because of the new privacy decision, the Board could not release its findings, causing many memebers of the public to now believe that a bad shooting had been covered up in a secret proceeding. It was only after the officer specifically waived his privacy rights that the Board could release its findings.

                  So, this is the area of contention - not that I/As be made public, but that appeals hearings, which have always been public since the inception of the Peace Officers Bill of Rights, remain public.
                  Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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                  • #10
                    I remember the Devin Brown shooting. COMPLETELY justified.

                    There is another thread on this I believe though. LP1, thanks for the info. I didn't know that.
                    -I don't feel you honor someone by creating a physical gesture (the salute). You honor them by holding them in memory and, in law enforcement, proceeding in vigilant, ethical police work. You honor this country or deceased soldiers or whatever you're honoring when you salute a flag by thinking, feeling, and continuing a life of freedom.

                    --ArkansasRed24

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                    • #11
                      Why should anyone even want to be an LEO nowadays???????

                      They should remain closed. The chiefs should PUBLICALLY AND LOUDLY back their officers. It doesn't happen ...... sadly even here most of the time. No leader wants to stick their neck out on tv WHEN THEY SHOULD and the foot soldiers know this. Then they feel vunerable. Morale takes a big hit.

                      Not good. Don't see it getting better.
                      "Socrates was a philosopher. He talked a lot. They killed him." unknown to me.

                      "Evil prevails when good men do nothing."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        L-1, I personally appreciate your very valuable insights on this issue. As usual, they are thoughtful and incisive. I just have a personal distrust of the current political atmosphere in L.A. The same could be said for other cities as well. In any event, thanks once more for your very positive input.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PhilipCal
                          L-1, I personally appreciate your very valuable insights on this issue. As usual, they are thoughtful and incisive. I just have a personal distrust of the current political atmosphere in L.A. The same could be said for other cities as well. In any event, thanks once more for your very positive input.
                          I agree with you completely regarding the atmosphere and distrust. The last few years of my career I started seeing my own department doing things in I/As that make me very glad to now be retired.

                          I was just trying to clarify a point as some posters apparently believed Brattion and the city were attempting to make I/A investigations public, which is not the case.
                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by L-1
                            This contravenes a basic principle in American law that trials are open to the public both to ensure that the public is informed and to prevent the accused from being railroaded in a star chamber proceeding.

                            And

                            This unusual court decision came back to bite law enforcement a few months ago when an LAPD board of rights exonerated an officer accused of excessive force in a high profile shooting.
                            Gotta say I couldn't disagree more here- all employees - private or public- are entitled to privacy during disciplinary actions. The federal government agrees with this and that's why the courts overturned an unconstitutional policy. You can't lose your rights and you can't even bargain them away during contract negotiations- even if it's by accident. That's why very few departments around the country have public hearings at any phase of disciplinaries- and personnel files are closed. No offense because I respect you- but your problem here's that you were upper brass and that tainted your vision- you can't have people digging into your personel files that only makes it easier to sue successfully. And trials can be closed to the public- and are regularly- but granted there have to be reasons why.
                            "When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power ... like God must feel when he's holding a gun. " Homer Simpson

                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rohan
                              Gotta say I couldn't disagree more here- all employees - private or public- are entitled to privacy during disciplinary actions. The federal government agrees with this and that's why the courts overturned an unconstitutional policy. You can't lose your rights and you can't even bargain them away during contract negotiations- even if it's by accident. That's why very few departments around the country have public hearings at any phase of disciplinaries- and personnel files are closed. No offense because I respect you- but your problem here's that you were upper brass and that tainted your vision- you can't have people digging into your personel files that only makes it easier to sue successfully. And trials can be closed to the public- and are regularly- but granted there have to be reasons why.
                              Where do you guys get this stuff?????

                              The purpose of my post was simply to clarify erroneous assumptions, exactly like the ones stated in your message.

                              1. There is no constitutional issue here. Instead the decision was based on an interpretation of California's Peace Officers Bill of Rights (POBR), a state law. Although POBR has been in existence for over 30 years, it has never been interpreted so as to close disciplinary appeals hearings until now.

                              2 Contrary to your statement, there is no attempt being made to open police personnel files to public scrutiny. These files have always been closed and will continue to be under POBR.

                              If you read the story and the proposed legislation, all that is being attempted here is to make evidence presented at the appeals hearing public (which again, has always been the case until now).

                              Finally, if you re-read my posts you will see that I have not advocated a position in this matter either for management or rank and file. I was merely trying to clarify things when a few officers went off half cocked claiming that this was something that it wasn't.
                              Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                              Comment

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