LOS ANGELES — A coalition of community and advocacy groups applauds the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ unanimous approval today of a motion that would require the County to make promptly available vital Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) records on deputy shootings, serious uses of force, and other serious misconduct.
The motion calls for the records to be published on a searchable county website as soon as deemed public.
The board measure, backed by the Check the Sheriff coalition, additionally requires the disclosure of names of the deputies involved in shootings within 48 hours of the incidents — a stark contrast to LASD’s practice of continuously delaying and stonewalling by refusing to make this information available as mandated by the California Public Records Act and SB 1421.
The lack of forthcoming information has been especially painful for loved ones of those shot and killed by deputies.
“The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department killed my son Dana Malik Young more than six months ago, and we still don’t have the names of the deputies who killed him,” said Khadijah Shabazz, who is a member of Essie Justice Group, one of the organizations in the coalition. “My family appreciates this step in the right direction, which we have fought for, and I’m hoping with this one step, there will be two, three, four more.”
The LASD has issued several excuses for consistently withholding public records that agencies across the state have routinely produced. Coalition members have pointed out that LASD’s justifications are not supported by law or fact.
“The LASD does have a lot of records to disclose. But they have a lot of records because they kill a lot of people,” said Melanie P. Ochoa, director of police practices at the ACLU SoCal, also a member of Check the Sheriff. “Their deputies inflict a lot of serious bodily injury. There are a lot of cases of LASD deputies caught lying or committing sexual assault. The fact that there are a lot of records is an argument for more transparency, not less.”
The motion calls for the authority to disclose the information be taken away from the LASD and instead be given to the county counsel or inspector general.
“We can only hope that under this proposed ordinance the county counsel or inspector general’s office will take more seriously the public’s constitutional right of access to public records,” Ochoa said.
Read the motion: http://file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/bos/supdocs/158358.pdf
Read Check the Sheriff coalition’s letter to the board in support of the motion: https://www.aclusocal.org/sites/default/files/05.17.21_cts_letter_of_support_for_transparency_motion.pdf