Category Archives: LAPD

LAPD Produces Three Records From The Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System In Response To My CPRA Suit!

In February, my hand forced by the mindless obstructionism of the City of Los Angeles with respect to compliance with the California Public Records Act, I filed a petition asking a judge to compel them to hand over two classes of records. First were private person’s arrest forms generated in Hollywood in 2018. The point here is to be able once again to track arrests by the BID patrol after their appalling 2016 contract amendment took these records, at least for now, out of the reach of the CPRA.

The second kind of records I’m seeking in the suit are postings to the Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System, familiarly known as RPPICS. This is some kind of cop bulletin board that a lot of BIDs have access to, and the LAPD claimed that everything on the system could be withheld from me under the so-called investigative materials exemption to the CPRA, found at §6254(f).

And it’s these last ones that seem to have cracked the case. Last Thursday the City of Los Angeles, in the person of Deputy City Attorney Jonathan Bislig, sent over this letter admitting that the City possessed responsive RPPICS material that was not exempt and yet had not been produced. And they attached four pages of material, constituting three responsive records. There’s a transcription of the letter and of one of the RPPICS items after the break, and here are links to all three:

This is not only hugely important because we finally get to see some material from the hitherto top secret RPPICS, but also because the fact that the City released previously withheld material as a result of a suit means that I’m the “prevailing party” and therefore that the City has to pay my lawyer. This was held in the monumental 1991 case Belth v. Garamendi, which interpreted §6259(d) of the CPRA thus:

In this case we hold that Government Code section 6259, subdivision (d), mandates an award of court costs and reasonable attorney fees to a plaintiff who prevails in litigation filed under the California’s Public Records Act. We further hold that the plaintiff has prevailed within the meaning of the statute when he or she files an action which results in defendant releasing a copy of a previously withheld document.

This release is also hugely important because it shows really clearly that LAPD’s original denial was completely bogus. There’s nothing investigative at all about these three records. They falsely characterized them that way purely so they didn’t have to produce them, or even search for them, for that matter. It’s shameful that LAPD, and the City of Los Angeles as a whole, treats its mandated duties under the CPRA so lightly. It’s also shameful that the only means to enforce compliance is a lawsuit.

Together, these shameful facts mean that the only possible strategy is to keep suing them until they get their act together. It’s going to be expensive for taxpayers, who have to foot the City’s legal bill and also the requester’s in successful cases, but as Sigmund Freud famously said, if you don’t pay you don’t get better. More news as I have it, and turn the page for some transcriptions.
Continue reading LAPD Produces Three Records From The Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System In Response To My CPRA Suit!

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It Appears That The University Of Southern California Is In Violation Of Its Memorandum Of Understanding With LAPD — USC Police Are Required To Submit Regular Reports Describing Their Activities And Giving Various Statistics — According To LAPD Discovery In Response To A CPRA Request There Are No Reports — Given The Vast Off-Campus Area That USC Cops Cover It Is Disconcerting That There Is No Way To Know What They’re Doing — And It Is A Massive Dereliction Of LAPD’s Duty To The People Of Los Angeles That They Evidently Are Allowing USC To Shirk Its Legal Reporting Duties

So it turns out that security guards at private universities can actually be peace officers under California law if certain conditions are satisfied. This is authorized by the Penal Code at §830.75, which lists the fairly minimal conditions. They include a requirement that “[t]he institution of higher education and the appropriate local law enforcement agency have entered into a memorandum of understanding.” Once the conditions are met, the law allows the security guards to act as police officers on public property within a mile of their campus.

And the University of Southern California has taken full advantage of this opportunity, entering into the appropriate MOU with the Los Angeles Police Department so that its security guards, collectively known as the Department of Public Safety, have the arrest power and are allowed to exercise it within the boundaries of the map shown above. I obtained a copy of this MOU from LAPD under the CPRA, and it’s well worth reading.

If you’re paying attention at all you’ll have heard that this situation, with USC policing a vast off-campus area in neighborhoods whose residents are mostly poor, mostly black or brown, is intolerably abusive. Sahra Sulaiman, for one, has been writing about it for years on Streetsblog. See e.g. this 2013 overview and this more recent description of yet another appalling incident.

When the LAPD is involved in activities like this, well, it’s not so easy to stop them, but it is at least possible to use the Public Records Act to try understand what they’re up to. This is not so clearly possible with USC, since they’re a private school and not prima facie subject to the CPRA.1 But the MOU does provide for some transparency about USC operations.

In particular take a look at Article 5, which requires all kinds of reporting about police activities by USC, all of it to be submitted to LAPD.2 USC DPS is required to submit reports of significant incidents, daily reports of calls, weekly crime statistics, monthly reports of all activities pertaining to the exercise of the powers granted by the MOU, and other stuff besides.

So naturally I asked LAPD for copies of all of these reports from 2018 and 2019 under the CPRA.3 And imagine my surprise when the LAPD told me this afternoon that they didn’t have any records. They even said that they asked Southwest Division to look for them, which was the right thing to do as they’re the designated recipients under the MOU.

So if LAPD Discovery is telling the truth and no one actually has copies of all these reports that USC is supposed to submit, then USC is in violation of the MOU and they certainly ought to stop patrolling off-campus immediately and have all the powers granted to them under its terms suspended until they come back into compliance.

This isn’t just some kind of technicality, either. If USC DPS is going to operate on public property, detain and arrest citizens of Los Angeles who aren’t remotely interacting with USC property or employees, and so on, then we have a right to keep track of what exactly they’re up to. If they actually haven’t been submitting these reports, or if LAPD isn’t retaining them or is hiding them, then it’s impossible for us to understand USC’s operations on our streets, which is unacceptable.

On the other hand, obviously, it’s possible that LAPD is either lying or mistaken, either of which would be completely not at all surprising to anyone who’s dealt with them before. So I asked Southwest Division to put me in touch with whoever is their USC liason, and I asked USC senior vice something or other Todd Dickey, who signed the most recent amendment to the MOU, to please let me know what’s going on. If and when I hear back from them well, you’ll read about it here. Meanwhile, turn the page for all the transcriptions.
Continue reading It Appears That The University Of Southern California Is In Violation Of Its Memorandum Of Understanding With LAPD — USC Police Are Required To Submit Regular Reports Describing Their Activities And Giving Various Statistics — According To LAPD Discovery In Response To A CPRA Request There Are No Reports — Given The Vast Off-Campus Area That USC Cops Cover It Is Disconcerting That There Is No Way To Know What They’re Doing — And It Is A Massive Dereliction Of LAPD’s Duty To The People Of Los Angeles That They Evidently Are Allowing USC To Shirk Its Legal Reporting Duties

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52.4% Of All Arrests In The Entire City Of Los Angeles For Public Urination/Defecation From 2009 Through February 2019 Were Made In Just Six LAPD Reporting Districts In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID — Yet More Proof That Business Improvement Districts Oppress Homeless People Through Selective Enforcement — And More Proof That The Hollywood BID Patrol Is Completely Off The Chain — And Has Been Running A Private Police State For Years — With The City’s Full Blessing And Collusion Of Course

A few weeks ago I learned from some data released by the LAPD that 73% of all arrests for public marijuana use in the entire City of Los Angeles between 2016 and 2018 took place in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID.1 This is obviously a crime much more likely to be committed by homeless people, since they don’t have a private place to smoke marijuana. Here’s what I said then about the BID’s outrageous rate of arresting homeless residents:

The HPOA BID Patrol is famous for its aggressive arrest policies. In 2013 they were responsible for more than 7% of the arrests of homeless people in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their arrest rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years, but it is still unbelievably high. But since 2016 they have refused to provide data on their individual arrests in response to CPRA requests, so it hasn’t been possible to tell who they were arresting and why.2

And it turns out that LAPD will release these spreadsheets pretty quickly, and just recently they released a couple containing all arrests for violating LAMC 41.47.2, which is the public urination law. And a quick analysis reveals a very similar result. That is, there are essentially six LAPD reporting districts in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. They are 636, 637, 645, 646, 647, and 666. There are 1135 reporting districts in the City, but these six in the BID accounted for 52.4% of all the public urination arrests in the City from 2009 through 2019, a total of 887 arrests out of 1,693.

Contrast this with Skid Row, which is encompassed by 11 reporting districts.3 Between 2009 and 2019 these 11 reporting districts accounted for only 35 arrests for public urination. That is less than 4% of the arrests in the Hollywood Entertainment District. Obviously the difference isn’t due to less public urination in Skid Row, it’s due to extreme differential enforcement. It’s really unlikely that the LAPD on its own would create such a disparity. If the BID patrol isn’t making all these arrests, nevertheless the BID must be the ultimate cause.

It’s worth noting here, by the way, that public urination was not even illegal in Los Angeles until 2003. Even at the time it was opposed by LACAN and others because the intention was obviously to further the criminalization of homelessness. In response, “Council members pledged that people would be prosecuted only in cases when there is a public toilet nearby that they failed to use.” But such pledges aren’t worth the toilet paper that’s smeared with them, and, as everyone who’s paying attention knows, the law has only been used as the anti-homeless weapon it was obviously intended to be.4

And, it turns out, mostly so used by the most toxic BID in the City, the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. Turn the page for some nifty maps showing the relationship of these six reporting districts to the BID boundaries as well as a histogram showing the freakishly uneven distribution. Click the image to enlarge.
Continue reading 52.4% Of All Arrests In The Entire City Of Los Angeles For Public Urination/Defecation From 2009 Through February 2019 Were Made In Just Six LAPD Reporting Districts In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID — Yet More Proof That Business Improvement Districts Oppress Homeless People Through Selective Enforcement — And More Proof That The Hollywood BID Patrol Is Completely Off The Chain — And Has Been Running A Private Police State For Years — With The City’s Full Blessing And Collusion Of Course

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Creepy Little Venice Zillionaire George Francisco Wanted A Homeless Man Evicted For The Sake Of His Sign Lighting Event — So He Got Creepy Little Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley To Look Into “Commanding” The Homeless Man To Leave — Mayoral Flunky Brian Buchner Turned Out To Be The Grownup In The Room And Put The Nix On This Plan — So Much For The Theory That Encampment Cleanups Target Health And Safety Problems — Given That Bazley And Francisco Value A “High Profile Event” More Than A Human Being’s Residence

Ask the City’s powerful and you’ll hear a familiar story. That breaking up and cleaning out homeless encampments promotes health, promotes safety, is even good for the people whose homes are being destroyed. Just ask Estela Lopez, the executive director of the Downtown Industrial District BID, who will tell you that these cleanups are good for the very people who are getting cleaned up. Ask famous-on-Facebook homelessness hero Betsy Starman, who’ll tell you that even arresting homeless people is for their own damn good. Ask LAPD’s HOPE team, who will tell you the whole thing is for the benefit of the victims.

Heck, ask zillionaire property owner, serial plagiarist, and erstwhile president of the board of directors of the whole damn Hollywood Property Owners Alliance John Tronson, who will tell you that arresting the homeless isn’t just necessary to help them, but it’s actually good for them. Ask Tronson’s once-upon-a-time BID Patrol minion Mike Coogle, who at one point responded to a social worker’s worries about a man who wasn’t 5150-eligible but who she still wanted to lock up with an offer to arrest him as much as possible so that eventually warrants would issue and she would be able to help him whether he wanted it or not. How’s that for arrests being good for the homeless?!

And this is a good narrative, I guess, or at least a useful one. It lets people who just want the homeless moved out and away and don’t give a damn about the pain and destruction to feel like they’re helping people while helping themselves, to feel like they at least appear that they do give a damn about human suffering. It strains the credulity of the sane, though, to believe that arresting homeless people, that breaking up their camps and destroying their possessions, is actually good for anyone, let alone the people it’s happening to. Or even that anyone actually intends it to be good.

There are just too many episodes like the one about CD13’s scheduling a cleanup because some zillionaire landlord had a property inspection coming up or the one about CD14 arranging a cleanup in advance of a movie company’s planned filming. It sure seems like, no matter what the lies the powerful are telling themselves in the morning mirror, the motives for evicting the homeless are really not humane at all.1

And today I have another example, albeit with a twist this time, which is the involvement of Garcetti homelessness staffer Brian Buchner who, if not humane, at least understands how to manage appearances. The whole story is told in this email conversation between CD11 field deputy Taylor Bazley,2 Brian Buchner, Dominic Choi, Emada Tingirides, and Garcetti’s latest magic bullet, the Unified Homelessness Response Center. The subject is universally-reviled-by-sane-people Venice zillionaire George Francisco and his infernal Venice Sign comma lighting ceremony therefor, scheduled last year for Saturday, December 1, 2018. You can read the special event permit here.

And the problem? Well, there was a human being living on the sidewalk where this very special event was to take place. And George Francisco wasn’t having it. So he had Taylor Bazley email a bunch of LAPDs and ask the eternal burning question, which is how can we get the homeless person out of the way of the zillionaire party? Turn the page for a transcription of this and the rest of the discussion, and don’t ever believe them again when they tell you they’re arresting homeless people for their own damn good.
Continue reading Creepy Little Venice Zillionaire George Francisco Wanted A Homeless Man Evicted For The Sake Of His Sign Lighting Event — So He Got Creepy Little Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley To Look Into “Commanding” The Homeless Man To Leave — Mayoral Flunky Brian Buchner Turned Out To Be The Grownup In The Room And Put The Nix On This Plan — So Much For The Theory That Encampment Cleanups Target Health And Safety Problems — Given That Bazley And Francisco Value A “High Profile Event” More Than A Human Being’s Residence

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Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID! — Between 2016 and 2018 73% Of All Citations For Public Marijuana Use In the Entire City Of Los Angeles Were In the Hollywood BID — The Venice BID Is A Distant Second Place With 8% — Leaving A Mere 19% — Which Is Only 170 Citations — For The Entire Rest Of The City Of Los Angeles

Even though marijuana use in California was formally legalized recently, it’s still against the law to use it in public per the California Health and Safety Code at §11362.3. And apparently Lolita Lopez, investigative reporter at NBCLA, is doing a story on how this plays out in Los Angeles, because on February 2, 2019 she filed a CPRA request with the City for a list of citations under this law from 2016 to the present. Her request was successful, and a few days later the LAPD handed over this spreadsheet, organized by reporting district.1

And public marijuana use is one of those laws that’s custom-made for differential enforcement against homeless people. Thus it occurred to me to take a look at this data in conjuction with BIDs, which are one of the main engines of differential enforcement in Los Angeles. And the data revealed something really interesting. There were 887 citations in the two years covered by the data. Of these citations, 645 occurred in only 6 reporting districts, which precisely cover the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. Also 71 occurred in two others, which precisely cover the Venice Beach BID. The other 171 were spread out pretty evenly across the whole rest of the City.

This means that 72.7% of all citations for public marijuana use in the entire City of Los Angeles since 2016 were issued in the Hollywood Entertainment District BID. And 8% were issued in the Venice Beach BID. It doesn’t take any kind of fancy statistical analysis to prove that this is a really significant result, almost certainly linked to Kerry Morrison and her BID’s well-known tactic of arresting every homeless person that they can lay their hands on for the most trivial possible matters, such as drinking in public or urinating in public. Evidently now we can add smoking marijuana in public to this list of homeless-criminalizing tactics employed by the BID.

The HPOA BID Patrol is famous for its aggressive arrest policies. In 2013 they were responsible for more than 7% of the arrests of homeless people in the entire City of Los Angeles. Their arrest rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years, but it is still unbelievably high. But since 2016 they have refused to provide data on their individual arrests in response to CPRA requests, so it hasn’t been possible to tell who they were arresting and why.2

However, each arrest that the BID Patrol makes results in some kind of action by the LAPD. And given that the LAPD doesn’t seem to expend much effort in arresting anyone for public marijuana use outside the BID, it’s not unreasonable to assume that these figures are a proxy for the BID’s interest in the differential enforcement of this law. If they’re not making these arrests themselves then the arrests are the result of some BID policy.

The situation in Venice is a little less clear, as the Venice Beach BID only started its security work sometime in 2017, and the Boardwalk is a likely place for the LAPD to practice its own style of selective enforcement without needing a BID to encourage it. But the moral of the story is still very clear. It’s illegal to smoke marijuana in public in Los Angeles, but effectively it’s illegal only if you’re homeless and only if you’re in the Hollywood BID. Turn the page for maps and charts!
Continue reading Reefer Madness Is Alive And Well In The Hollywood Entertainment District BID! — Between 2016 and 2018 73% Of All Citations For Public Marijuana Use In the Entire City Of Los Angeles Were In the Hollywood BID — The Venice BID Is A Distant Second Place With 8% — Leaving A Mere 19% — Which Is Only 170 Citations — For The Entire Rest Of The City Of Los Angeles

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Los Angeles Police Department Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — At Issue Are Two Classes Of Records — Both Of Which LAPD Claims Are Investigative And So Exempt From Release — First Are Private Person’s Arrest Forms — Necessary To Track BID Patrol Arrests — Second Are Reports From RPPICS — Some Kind Of Top Secret Cop Tracking And Discussion System — Putatively For Anti-Terrorism

The LAPD has been notoriously bad at complying with the California Public Records Act. So much so that in 2017 the ACLU sued them for systemic violations of the law, which is in addition to any number of small-scale suits based on individual violations, like e.g. Stop LAPD Spying has had to sue them twice, once in 2015 and again in 2018.

These suits were based on the LAPD’s longstanding habit of completely ignoring CPRA requests, often for years at a time. However, since the City of LA started using the NextRequest CPRA platform the LAPD has gotten quite a bit more responsive, although they can still take a maddeningly long time to respond and produce records.

This welcome improvement in LAPD responsiveness does not mean that all is well in Cop-CPRAlandia. They will still arbitrarily deny requests and then cut off the conversation, and they did this to me twice in 2018. Sadly, the CPRA provides no recourse at all for arbitrary unjustified denials beyond the filing of a lawsuit,1 which is what the path I was forced to follow by the LAPD’s extraordinary and unsupportable intransigence. You can read the complaint here, written by the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros, and/or see transcribed selections below the break.

There are two issues at stake. In the first place, remember back in 2016 when Kerry Morrison and her merry gang of curb-stomping thugs at Andrews International Security altered their contract to be able to withhold public records from me? That left me with no way to tell exactly who said curb-stomping thuggie boys arrested, information they naturally wanted to obscure from me because they tend to arrest the wrong people and rather than mend their ways they prefer to cover up their misdeeds.

But last year I discovered that every time the BID Patrol arrests someone they fill out a form for the LAPD. Here is an example of one. As it’s essential to find out not only how many arrests the BID Patrol makes2 but who they’re actually arresting, I requested that the LAPD give me all of these forms from Hollywood from 2018. They refused, and that is my first cause of action.

The other issue has to do with some Orwellian slab of web app crap known as the Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System. I learned about this from some emails I got from the Downtown Center BID in response to a CPRA request. You can see the emails here on Archive.Org, but they’re not that interesting. They mostly just announce that new information is available on RPPICS, and since they won’t give up the goods, there’s no way to tell what that is.

But this kind of public/private collaboration sharing between police and security is famous for being misused for political surveillance and other illegal and antihuman activities. The LAPD and private security already get up to enough of this in open emails, as does the freaking BID Patrol. Imagine what they’re doing in secret. But we don’t have to imagine, we can make CPRA requests! Which is what I did, asking LAPD for a year’s worth of postings so as to learn what the heck these people were up to in their little secret world. Again, they denied my request, and this is my second cause of action.

And turn the page, if you will, for a few technicalities about the LAPD’s exemption claims and transcribed selections from the petition itself.
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Department Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — At Issue Are Two Classes Of Records — Both Of Which LAPD Claims Are Investigative And So Exempt From Release — First Are Private Person’s Arrest Forms — Necessary To Track BID Patrol Arrests — Second Are Reports From RPPICS — Some Kind Of Top Secret Cop Tracking And Discussion System — Putatively For Anti-Terrorism

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Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Judge Chalfant Accepts 170.6 Motion By First Amendment Coalition And Los Angeles Times To Disqualify Him — All Scheduled Hearings Are Cancelled — Case Transferred To Judge Mitchell Beckloff

A couple weeks ago Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled that the ACLU, the First Amendment Coalition, the Los Angeles Times, and some other parties could join the case of the appalling petition brought by the Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to prevent the City of Los Angeles from complying with SB1421 by releasing records relating to police misconduct occurring before January first of this year.

On January 23, 2019 these new parties, not counting the ACLU, filed a so-called 170.6 motion, asking Chalfant to disqualify himself. This is a standard move in California civil trials, authorized by the California Code of Civil Procedure at §170.6, which allows any party to move to disqualify a judge on the grounds of bias, although they don’t have to explain what bias they perceive. As long as the motion is filed on time it must be accepted and the case must be transferred.

For whatever reason the LAPPL wasn’t happy with this motion and they filed an opposition to it on January 25, essentially arguing that the deadline had passed and that the motion should be rejected because the so-called media intervenors1 already knew that Chalfant was handling the case when they asked to join, that Chalfant had already made rulings in the case, that switching judges now would mess up the case for everyone else, and so on.

The media intervenors filed a response to that opposition on January 28, basically stating that the Police Protective League’s position was full of crap and they can’t read the law or, if they can, then they didn’t summarize it correctly in their opposition. There was a hearing on this stuff on Friday2 and Chalfant accepted the motion to disqualify himself and reassigned the case to Judge Mitchell Beckloff.

His order accepting the motion is here, and the notice of reassignment is here. The most immediate effect of this is that all pending hearings are cancelled, including the one upcoming on Tuesday, February 5. I’ll let you know when and if Beckloff schedules anything. Meanwhile, if you want to browse through (most of) the paper filed already in this case you can find it here on Archive.Org.
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Judge Chalfant Accepts 170.6 Motion By First Amendment Coalition And Los Angeles Times To Disqualify Him — All Scheduled Hearings Are Cancelled — Case Transferred To Judge Mitchell Beckloff

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City Of Los Angeles Files A Creditable Brief In Opposition To Appalling Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Petition

Last week in the appalling lawsuit filed by the appalling Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to prevent the LAPD from releasing records newly made public by SB1421, the City of Los Angeles filed a surprisingly unappalling opposition brief arguing that the records ought in fact to be released.

The LAPPL’s lawyers, Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver, have been filing these lawsuits all over Southern California, and so far they’ve managed to get injunctions against releasing the records in San Bernardino and Orange Counties as well as, of course, in the City of Los Angeles. I thought I heard somewhere that not every government has opposed these suits, but I can’t verify it, so forget that! But, as I said, the City of L.A. did file an opposition, and you can find a transcription of selections below.

You may recall that the LAPPL’s argument is that it’s unfair to apply the law retroactively because officers made career decisions based on the confidentiality of these records. The City of Los Angeles, in response, says that releasing the records would not in fact be retroactive application because the law applies to records that the City has in its possession now.

They also argue that it wouldn’t be a retroactive application of a law because it doesn’t change the consequences attached to the actions of the officers related in the records. They argue that releasing old records was the intention of the legislature, and finally that the legislature does have the authority to change privacy protections that apply to existing records.
Continue reading City Of Los Angeles Files A Creditable Brief In Opposition To Appalling Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Petition

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This Morning In The Anti-SB1421 Petition Case Brought By The Los Angeles Police Protective League — Judge James Chalfant Ruled That The ACLU Of Southern California — Representing Valerie Rivera — Could Intervene — And So Can The First Amendment Coalition And Various Newspapers — Although In A More Limited Way — Oh, And The City Of Los Angeles Did Actually File An Opposition To The LAPPL’s Position — So That’s Good

Yesterday the First Amendment Coalition filed a request to be allowed to intervene in the reprehensible petition filed on December 31 by the reprehensible Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to bar retroactive enforcement of the monumental SB1421, which took effect on January 1 and is meant to require the release of records relating to serious cases of police misconduct.

It turns out that, unknown to me before this morning’s hearing, the ACLU of Southern California also filed a request to be allowed to intervene. They’re representing Valerie Rivera, mother of Eric Rivera, killed by the LAPD in 2017. She requested records relating to the investigation of the officer who killed her son and was denied on the basis of the LAPPL’s restraining order.

And there was a hearing this morning on these requests before James Chalfant, so off I went downtown to the good old Stanley Mosk Courthouse to see and hear what went on. Before the hearing really got going, by the way, it came out that the City of Los Angeles has actually filed an opposition to the LAPPL’s petition, although I don’t yet have a copy. This is news because in other cases like this one the governmental agencies have not all opposed the suits. I also learned that the LAPPL’s lawyer, Richard Levine, is filing scads of these cases, county by county by county. Which is interesting and, I’m sure, worth a lot of money to him.

Anyway, after a lot of discussion Chalfant decided that the ACLU could intervene in the case but that the FAC and its gaggle of newspapers could only intervene in a limited way. This is because he found that Ms. Rivera had a more compelling interest in the outcome than did the media. The FAC and the newspapers are required to file their opposition brief jointly with the ACLU so that Chalfant doesn’t have to read too much stuff,1 and they’re not allowed to seek attorney’s fees from the LAPPL. The ACLU will be allowed to seek fees.

At first Chalfant seemed inclined to postpone the upcoming February 5 hearing,2 but ultimately he did not. And here’s a copy of the minute order detailing what went on. Turn the page for a transcription.
Continue reading This Morning In The Anti-SB1421 Petition Case Brought By The Los Angeles Police Protective League — Judge James Chalfant Ruled That The ACLU Of Southern California — Representing Valerie Rivera — Could Intervene — And So Can The First Amendment Coalition And Various Newspapers — Although In A More Limited Way — Oh, And The City Of Los Angeles Did Actually File An Opposition To The LAPPL’s Position — So That’s Good

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First Amendment Coalition Files Ex Parte Application For Leave To Intervene In Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Joined By The L.A. Times, The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association, And Many Other Esteemed Journalistic Groups — Hearing On This Application Tomorrow Morning At 8:30 A.M. In Dept. 85 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

Today the First Amendment Coalition and a bunch of newspapers and newspaper-adjacent organizations filed an ex parte application for leave to intervene in the appalling case initiated by the Los Angeles Police Protective League seeking to prevent California’s new police transparency law, SB1421, from applying retroactively to records of police misconduct prior to 2019. This same crapola was already tried elsewhere and decisively shot down by the California Supreme Court, but, for whatever reason, in Los Angeles County the case must go on.

FAC is seeking to intervene in the case, even though they’re not parties to it. This is evidently sometimes allowed, according to the Wiki, when “a judgment in a particular case may affect the rights of nonparties, who ideally should have the right to be heard.” Here’s the pleading filed by the FAC. It’s called an ex parte application because they’re asking the judge to decide whether they should be allowed into the case without requiring the other parties to be present at the hearing, which is tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. in Department 85 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

Because they aren’t parties to the case, they have to convince the judge that the interests of justice are served by allowing them to become parties. This argument is a huge part of their filing. They also argue that neither of the actual parties to the case, the PPL and the City, have any interest in ensuring that the public has access to records. In fact, they argue, it’s possible that the City may not file a response to the petition. Also, I guess to save time, they include the briefing that they’re proposing to file if the judge allows them to. It’s a powerful piece of writing, and you can find transcribed selections after the break.
Continue reading First Amendment Coalition Files Ex Parte Application For Leave To Intervene In Los Angeles Police Protective League Anti-SB1421 Case — Joined By The L.A. Times, The California Newspaper Publishers’ Association, And Many Other Esteemed Journalistic Groups — Hearing On This Application Tomorrow Morning At 8:30 A.M. In Dept. 85 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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