No Longer Confidential: An Advanced Look at SB 1421

Commencing January 1, 2019, California law regarding the confidentiality of certain police records will undergo a significant change.  Records of officer-involved shootings and certain uses of force will become accessible to the general public, as will records relating to sustained findings of dishonesty or sexual assault by a police officer. Earlier this month, we presented…

More Than Just Body Camera Footage: An Advanced Look at AB 748

On July 1, 2019, video and audio relating to critical police incidents, which are defined as officer-involved shootings and certain uses of force, will no longer be confidential under California law.  In our October 2018 webinar on AB 748 and SB 1421 issues, we discussed the basics of AB 748 and how it will impact…

Everything Is Partisan, Including How Americans View Policing

What should your first step be in evaluating how your jury pool will view an officer’s use of force?  Here’s a hint – look at the 2016 election results. In preparing for any jury trial, a public entity should assess information about the likely jury pool.  Fortunately for public entities preparing to try civil rights…

Do Body Cameras Lead To Fewer Citizen Complaints? A Recent Study Says No.

Last month, the New York Times reported on a recent Washington, D.C. study on the use of police body cameras.  As part of the study, the D.C. Metro police department randomly split 2,000 officers into two groups – one group without cameras and the second group with cameras.  Researchers expected to see a reduction in…

Body Camera Updates: Proposed Legislation and Pay-Per-View Hype

The Legislature Tries Again:  Will California Law Require Disclosure of Officer-Involved Shooting Videos? In the January 2017 edition of the Burke Beat, we discussed the California Legislature’s inability to reach a consensus on key issues relating to police body-worn cameras, and the implications of that legislative void.  The Legislature is now close to resolving the…

Four Thoughts on County of Los Angeles v. Mendez

Last month, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in County of Los Angeles v. Mendez, overturning the Ninth Circuit’s decision.  As noted in our earlier preview of the pending case, the primary issue before the Supreme Court was whether a law enforcement officer could be held liable for a Fourth Amendment violation when he…