By Norberto Santana Jr., Voice of OC | Orange County now joins Los Angeles and Contra Costa counties as places where a resident can hold their police agencies accountable by having the right to review select law enforcement misconduct records, thanks to a Thursday afternoon decision by OC Superior Court Judge Nathan Scott.
The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs scrambled into court earlier this month seeking to prevent the release of misconduct records authorized by a recent state law, SB 1421.
Given recent public concerns about police misconduct and cover-ups, a bipartisan coalition of legislators adopted the law to allow select misconduct records – such as use of force, sexual assault on a member of the public or lying while on duty – to be released to anyone submitting a Public Information Request under state law.
Voice of OC led a media coalition including the Los Angeles Times and Southern California Public Radio to oppose efforts by the AOCDS in court seeking to have Orange County exist as one of the only places in California to restrict such public record access rights.
Orange County supervisors stood with the deputies union in fighting disclosure as they ordered their County Counsel, Leon Page, to stand down from his original position and not resist the deputies’ efforts in courts to lock up public records about misconduct.
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