Live in Obedient Fear, Citizen

It raises the obvious question: If they had a need to keep these records all these years, why do they have a burning need to destroy them now? (It’s a rhetorical question)

More details are coming to light about California’s opacity activists. Faced with impending transparency, a handful of law enforcement agencies decided to fire up the shredders rather than risk turning over police conduct records to the public under the new public records law.

Inglewood’s police department was given the go-ahead to shred years of responsive documents last December in a council meeting that produced no record of discussion on the matter or the council’s determination.

Public records requests filed after the new law went into effect in January uncovered moves made by the Fremont city council to help local police rid themselves of records the public might try to request. The city lowered the retention period for officer-involved shooting records from 25 years to ten and allowed the department to destroy 45 years of police misconduct records it had decided to hold onto until it became inconvenient for it to do so.


Departments are willing to hold onto misconduct/shooting records for decades, but only start destroying them when it looks like they might have to share. Agencies can point to mandated retention periods all they want, but the argument doesn’t wash if they’re only sticklers about it when transparency is being forced on them.

Why you cannot allow the police to police the police.

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