On Sept. 17, Seven of Eight Councilmembers (We Name Them) Who Received Contribs (We Show Them) From LB Police Officers Union Will Vote On Whether To Approve New Contract w/ Text Requiring City To Follow This Procedure When Public Seeks Records Of Officer Misconduct Under SB 1421; Coalition of Groups (We Name Them) Demands Council Remove Section; City Mgm't Announces It Will Put SB 1421 LBPD Records It Releases On New Publicly Accessible Webpage
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(Sept. 16, 2019, 5:35 p.m.) -- In a series fast breaking developments updated here, at midmorning today (Sept. 16) a coalition of twenty LB groups (listed below) issued a statement demanding (their verb) that on Sept. 17, the City Council remove text negotiated by city management before voting to approve a new contract with the LB Police Officers Association (LBPOA/union). That text (Section IX) would require the City to follow a certain procedure (details below) beyond what state law requires when members of the public make Public Records Act requests regarding officer involved shootings/use of force w/ serious injuries or sustained findings of officer misconduct under SB 1421 (we cite below the statute's requirements and exceptions to release.)
By midafternoon, city management (LBPD) issued a release stating that it will put Public Records records it releases -- in other words, it deems releasable -- under SB 1421 on a separate publicly accessible webpage.
As reported last week by LBREPORT.com (consistent with our "follow the money" coverage), seven of eight LB members (all Council incumbents except Jeannine Pearce) have received contributions to their re-election campaign accounts and/or to their "officeholder accounts" from the LBPOA PAC (details below.) If a Council majority were to vote to approve the contractual text (which LBPOA's rank and file membership has already approved), it would become a requirement that the City would be contractually bound to follow when members of the public or the press seek Public Records under SB 1421.
[Scroll down for further.]
[Proposed LBPOA contractual text.] Section IX - Public Records Requests
When the department receives a public records request for records made available
pursuant to Senate Bill 1421 (as adopted on September 30, 2018), the following process
will be followed:
1. The department will notify the requestor whether responsive records exist, in accordance with section 6253(c) of the California Government Code.
2. If the department determines responsive records exist, the department shall notify the involved active employee(s) on the same day the requestor obtains notice.
3. Except where the disclosure of such information is prohibited or in the City's discretion is exempted by law, the involved active employee's notification shall include: the date of the request, the requestor name and/or organization, and the
nature of the information requested.
4. The department will provide the involved active employee(s) with an opportunity to review the redacted records at least five calendar days prior to public release.
5. The involved active employee(s) will be allowed to retain a copy of the records that are subject to public release.
SB 1421 (which became effective Jan. 1, 2019) requires disclosure as Public Records of certain peace officer personnel records and records relating to:
An incident involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer.
An 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;
Any record relating to an 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...;
Any record relating to an 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.
Under SB 1421, the City can legally withhold records indicating...
...personal data and information to preserve the anonymity of complainants and witnesses, or to protect confidential medical, financial, or other information in which disclosure would cause an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy that clearly outweighs the strong public interest in records about misconduct by peace officers or where there is a specific, particularized reason to believe that disclosure would pose a significant danger to the physical safety of the peace officer, and also authorizes redaction (deletion) where, on the facts of the particular case, the public interest served by nondisclosure clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure, and allows delay in disclosure for records relating to an open investigation or court proceeding, subject to certain limitations.
In their Sept. 16 statement to the Council, twenty LB area groups (listed below) stated in pertinent part:
Approving the LBPD contract/MOU with this provision [draft contract text cited above] would show city of Long Beach communities that City Council members are in the business of valuing police privilege over legal transparency, protecting violent police officers, and overlooking the community's safety. This would be a dangerous mistake and unacceptable to the residents of this city. Collectively and in unity, we demand that you remove Section IX of this MOU before voting to accept this MOU.
...You were all elected as representatives to serve the people of various districts throughout the city of Long Beach. We, your voting constituents, do not condone approving this MOU with Section IX included. We do not accept that you would vote to protect violent police officers. This is utterly disrespectful and puts Long Beach residents in danger. Therefore, again, we demand that you remove Section IX of
this MOU before voting.
Supported by the following 20 organizations AND MORE...
Black Lives Matter LBC (BLMLBC)
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Immigrants Rights Coalition (IRC)
LA County Public Defenders, AFSCME Local 148
CSULB Black Student Union (BSU)
Greater Long Beach, ICO
Long BeachCommunity Action Partnership (LBCAP)
Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and Healthy Community
Housing Long Beach
Council on Americal Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)
Long Beach Forward
Sanctuary Coalition: (Latinos In Action, Khmer Girls In Action, Sacred Resistance,
Filipino Migrant Center, National Immigration Law Center)
STOPLAPD Spying Coalition
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
BlackLivesMater Global Network (BLM)
National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
Democratic Socialists of America-Long Beach Chapter (DSA-LB)
As reported last week by LBREPORT.com, LBPOA's Political Action Committee (PAC) contributed the following sums related to LB Councilmembers, the Mayor, City Attorney and City Prosecutor:
Rex Richardson officeholder account: $750
Al Austin officeholder account: $750
Robert Garcia for Mayor 2018: $800
Robert Garcia officeholder account: $1,000
Lena Gonzalez for City Council 2018: $400
Suzie Price for City Council 2018: $400
Suzie Price officeholder account: $750
Rex Richardson for City Council 2018: $400
Roberto Uranga for City Council 2018: $400
Stacy Mungo for City Council 2018: $400
Roberto Uranga officeholder account: $750
Feb. 15, 2018: Rex Richardson officeholder account: $750
Feb. 15, 2018: Lena Gonzalez officeholder account: $750
April 10, 2018 Al Austin officeholder account: $750
April 18, 2018: Roberto Uranga (re-election): $400
April 18, 2018: Stacy Mungo (re-election): $400
March/April, 2018: Mayor Robert Garcia Committee to support Utility Measure Transfer Measure M (support): $75,000
June 25, 2018: Mayor Robert Garcia officeholder account: $1,000
"Mayor's Fund For Education": $10,000 [marked: "Inaugural Ceremony for Long Beach candidates"]
July 9, 2018: Mayor Robert Garcia/City Auditor Doud Committee for Charter Amendments AAA-DDD: $25,000
Nov. 21, 2018: Dee Andrews officeholder account: $750
Jan 31, 2019: Lena Gonzalez for Senate: $9,400
Feb. 6, 2019: Al Austin for Senate 2019: $4,700
Jan. 31, 2019: Rex Richardson officeholder account: $750
March 14, 2019: Mayor Robert Garcia Committee for Charter Amendments [AAA-DDD]: $5,000 [election was Nov. 2018]
March 15, 2019: Suzie Price officeholder account: $750
April 26, 2019: Stacy Mungo officeholder account: $750
May 23, 2019: Al Austin officeholder account: $750
May 15, 2019: Rex Richardson Ballot Measure Committee "Lift Up Long Beach Families": $5,000
Records also show:
In the 2018 election cycle, LBPOA's "Independent Expenditure Committee" spent sums supportive of but separate from the candidates (nearly $12,000) to independently support re-electing Council incumbents Roberto Uranga and Stacy Mungo ($5,918 each).
On Aug. 30, 2019, LBPOA's PAC gave 1st district Council candidate Mary Zendejas $2,500 to fill the Council seat previously held (2014-2019) by Councilwoman (now state Senator) Lena Gonzalez. In that position, Ms. Zendejas would have a vote on policies and spending impacting LB taxpayers and neighborhoods citywide. Ms. Zendejas is the endorsee of Mayor Garcia and its former Councilwoman Gonzalez.
During 2017, LBPOA's PAC gave $800 contributions to the 2018 campaigns to re-elect City Attorney Charles Parkin and LB City Prosecutor Doug Haubert
If approved by the Council, the proposed contractual terms (cited above) applying them to SB 1421 (cited above) would be interpreted and applied in consultation with the City Attorney's office.
In the 3 p.m. hour Sept. 16, LB city management (via LBPD) issued the following release:
In compliance with Senate Bill 1421 (SB 1421) and Assembly Bill 748 (AB 748), which mandates the public disclosure of records and information related to officer-involved shootings, certain uses of force, sustained findings of sexual assault and officer dishonesty and the production of video and audio of critical incidents, the Long Beach Police Department will be releasing documents through the Public Records Act request portal and publishing them on a dedicated webpage as they become available.
In Long Beach, within the Police Department alone, records date back to the 1960s and in some cases, the technology needed to digitally convert these documents is not accessible to us for redaction. The Department immediately began to identify how many records meet the legal mandate for release, however, without a budget or dedicated staffing, the Department has been using temporary staff to accomplish this goal and ensure victim privacy is preserved.
The webpage will contain voluminous responsive records, use of force levels and definitions, and use of force statistics. The department will continue to add additional staffing to our Public Records Act team and they are actively working through a page-by-page, file-by-file, process of review and redaction of all documents, audio, and video files associated with these incidents to begin the release process. To view the webpage, click here.
As with all Council meetings, LBREPORT.com will live-stream the Sept. 17 Council meeting on our front page, starting at 5 p.m.
Support really independent news in Long Beach. No one in LBREPORT.com's ownership, reporting or editorial decision-making has ties to development interests, advocacy groups or other special interests; or is seeking or receiving benefits of City development-related decisions; or holds a City Hall appointive position; or has contributed sums to political campaigns for Long Beach incumbents or challengers. LBREPORT.com isn't part of an out of town corporate cluster and no one its ownership, editorial or publishing decisionmaking has been part of the governing board of any City government body or other entity on whose policies we report. LBREPORT.com is reader and advertiser supported. You can help keep really independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.