Two Key Law Enforcement Transparency Bills Become Law in 2019

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In a rebuke to the state’s powerful law enforcement unions, California’s governor signed into law on September 30 two bills that will substantially increase law enforcement transparency.

The first, Assembly Bill 748, authored by SF rep Phil Ting, will mandate the eventual disclosure of police body camera videos when firearms are discharged or use of force results in death or great bodily injury. The bill premiminarily makes footage of critical incidents available after 45 days, with the ability for law enforcement to delay for as long as a year, but no longer.

The second, Senate Bill 1421, authored by East Bay rep Nancy Skinner, makes investigative and disciplinary records available as public records for incidents of firearms discharge, use of force resulting in death or critical injury, sexual assault or falsifying evidence. The bill preliminarily makes the records available after 60 days, with the ability of law enforcement to delay for as long as 18 months.

Both bills were strongly opposed by the Sheriff and Police Officers lobbying associations.

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