Request #20-4358
  Closed

02 July, 2020

Los Angeles Police Department

VIA ELECTRONIC REQUEST

Re:     California Public Records Act request

To Whom It May Concern:
 
Pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Section 6250 et seq. of the Government Code and the California state Constitution, as amended by Proposition 59, and all other applicable laws, including Penal Code Section 832.7(b) as defined by SB1421, we are requesting copies of the following records we believe to be held by your agency:

“Letters of discipline” and/or any analogous document or record created, filed, or otherwise maintained between January 1, 1996 and the termination of employment in 2006 for Los Angeles Police Department officer George Gascon relating to complaints, reports, investigations, or findings from:

1.      Any incident involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer;
2.      Any incident in which the use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer against a person resulted in death, or in great bodily injury;
3.      Any incident in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency that a peace officer or custodial officer engaged in sexual assault involving a member of the public;
4.      Any incident in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency of dishonesty by a peace officer or custodial officer directly relating to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime, or directly relating to the reporting of, or investigation of misconduct by, another peace officer or custodial officer, including, but not limited to, any sustained finding of perjury, false statements, filing false reports, destruction, falsifying, or concealing of evidence.
 
By “Letters of Discipline” we are referring to any documents sent to peace officers that notify them of the discipline being imposed against them. The documents may also include the severity of the discipline; the policies and procedures violated; the basic facts of the case, the officer’s work history and whether or not the officer contested the discipline.
 
Please respond to this request promptly.  As you probably know the following legal rules apply to this request:
 
Prompt Disclosure: Government Code Section 6253 (b), (d)
Records not exempt from disclosure are to be made “promptly available.” No provision of the CPRA, including the response periods noted below, “shall be construed to permit an agency to delay or obstruct the inspection or copying of public records.”
 
Deadlines: Government Code Section 6253 (c)
You are required “promptly” and in no case more than 10 calendar days from the date of this request, to determine, and inform us in writing, whether you are going to decline all or part of the request, and the law(s) that you are relying on, unless within that period you notify us in writing that you intend to take up to an additional 14 days to make the determination because of your need:
 -       to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;
-       to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in a single request;
-       for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject matter interest therein; or
-       to compile data, to write programming language or a computer program, or to construct a computer report to extract data.
 
Your notice must set forth “the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched.” If you determine that any of the records I have requested are disclosable, your written notice must “state the estimated date and time when the records will be made available.”
 
Constitutional Rule of Interpretation: Article I, Section 3 (b)
The California Constitution requires that the Public Records Act “shall be broadly construed if it furthers the people’s right of access, and narrowly construed if it limits the right of access.” This rule must be heeded in interpreting any exemptions from disclosure you believe to be applicable.
 
To the extent that a portion of the information we have requested is exempt by express provisions of law, the public records act additionally requires segregation and deletion of that material in order that the remainder of the information may be provided in satisfaction of our request.
 
If you determine that an express provision of law exists to exempt from disclosure all or a portion of the information we have requested, please respond to us in writing, via email, citing the specific portion of the law that allows for the exemption. In addition, the act requires government agencies to “provide suggestions for overcoming any practical basis for denying access to the records or information sought.”
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about our request.


Received

July 2, 2020 via web


Departments

Police Department (LAPD)

Documents

Public

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Staff

Point of Contact

LAPD Analyst Farah N5890

Request Closed   Hide Public

Dear Requester:

 

 We have reviewed your request to the Los Angeles Police Department (“Department”) under the California Public Records Act (Cal. Govt. Code section 6250, et seq., hereinafter the “Act”) seeking ““Letters of discipline” and/or any analogous document or record created, filed, or otherwise maintained between January 1, 1996 and the termination of employment in 2006 for Los Angeles Police Department officer George Gascon relating to complaints, reports, investigations, or findings from:

  1. Any incident involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer;
  2. Any incident in which the use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer against a person resulted in death, or in great bodily injury;
  3. Any incident in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency that a peace officer or custodial officer engaged in sexual assault involving a member of the public;
  4. Any incident in which a sustained finding was made by any law enforcement agency or oversight agency of dishonesty by a peace officer or custodial officer directly relating to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime, or directly relating to the reporting of, or investigation of misconduct by, another peace officer or custodial officer, including, but not limited to, any sustained finding of perjury, false statements, filing false reports, destruction, falsifying, or concealing of evidence.

 

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 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 disciplinary records relating to discharge of a firearm, use of force resulting in great bodily injury or death, officer involved shooting, sustained complaints of dishonesty, or sustained complaints of sexual assault, pursuant to Penal Code Section 832.7(b)(1), for Assistant Chief George Gascon, Serial No. 22223. 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, we are denying your request. 

 

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.

 

http://www.lapdonline.org/lapdsb1421

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please responds to this email.

 

Respectfully,

 

LAPD Legal Affairs Division, CPRA Unit

July 17, 2020, 9:08am
Due Date Changed Public
07/27/2020 (was 07/13/2020).
July 10, 2020, 12:22pm
Request Published Public
July 8, 2020, 4:20pm
Department Assignment Public
Police Department (LAPD)
July 2, 2020, 2:14pm
Request Opened Public
Request received via web
July 2, 2020, 2:14pm