California Gov. Jerry Brown releases his proposed budget for 2017-18 at the State Capitol building in Sacramento on Jan. 10, 2017. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Brown signs bill to make certain police misconduct records public in California

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed a bill making records of police misconduct across California public in certain cases, including when an officer has been found to have committed sexual assault while on duty.

Senate Bill 1421, from Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, allows the public to access records in cases where findings have been sustained against an officer for sexual assault, dishonesty or causing death or great bodily injury.

“When incidents such as a police shooting occurs, the public has a right to know that there was a thorough investigation,” Skinner said in a statement. “Without access to such records, communities can’t hold our public safety agencies accountable.”

The legislation was just one of the bills that Brown signed to further police reform across the state.

The governor also signed Assembly Bill 748, from Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, requiring the release of body-camera footage within 45 days of a critical incident such as a police shooting.

“The Governor’s signature on AB 748 signifies a strong commitment to police transparency in California,” Ting said in a statement. “Public access to body-camera footage is necessary to boost confidence and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Peter Bibring, director of police practices for the ACLU of California, hailed the decisions in statement.

“There is no doubt these two bills will significantly transform policing in California and help address the current crisis in policing which has led to the deaths of far too many people – largely in Black and brown communities,” Bibring said.

“Having an open government that is accountable to the people it serves is not merely an ideal to strive for, it is a necessity to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our families and communities,” he said. “Nowhere is that more apparent than in policing.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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