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., hereinafter the “CPRA” or “Act”) seeking, “copies of all video and audio records held by the LAPD releasable under the provisions of SB1421,” 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 and has identified disclosable records responsive to your request, pursuant to Penal Code § 832.7(b)(1). However, we need time to locate, retrieve, and redact video and audio files.
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.
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 above link 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.
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.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reply to this email.
LAPD Legal Affairs Division CPRA Unit