The City of Los Angeles is notorious for ignoring its duties under the California Public Records Act. Among City agencies, the LAPD is probably the worst at responding to requests in a timely, comprehensive manner. One of the worst aspects of CPRA is that filing a lawsuit1 is the only recourse if an agency refuses to comply. This is the strategy being pursued by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.2
So anyway, my own CPRA experiences with LAPD confirm this general impression. For instance, on February 10, 2015, I sent them this:
I’d like to request a list of all active stay-away orders for the Hollywood Entertainment District or maybe you could suggest documents I could request that would allow me to assemble such a list myself? I’m interested in how many there are and what crimes were committed by the people subject to them.
I won’t bother you with a detailed timeline of all my ignored follow-up inquiries and their occasional non-responsive answers to them, but in more than 20 months after my making this request they still had supplied no records in response.3
Well, as you may be aware, I’m presently working through a theory on whether Los Angeles Municipal Ethics laws, specifically LAMC 49.5.5(A), can be used to force the City to comply with CPRA without having to go to court. A description of this project can be found here. Now, LAMC 49.5.5(A) states:
City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.
And the general theory with respect to CPRA is that when a City employee willfully denies someone their rights under CPRA they may well be violating this law, since being denied rights is a disadvantage. You can see a a specific application of this theory here. This law does apply to the LAPD, but my feeling is that the LAPD problem with CPRA compliance is not amenable to an LAMC-49.5.5(A)-based strategy. Read on for details and a potential solution.
Continue reading Yet Another Possible Strategy For Forcing The City Of Los Angeles To Comply With CPRA Without Hiring A Lawyer: A Complaint With Internal Affairs Against The Officers In Charge Of The LAPD Discovery Section