A landmark attempt to open up records of police use of force and misconduct in California has turned into a broad legal battle as law enforcement unions across the state have gone to court to stop the release of some of the documents.
An Orange County judge on Thursday issued a temporary restraining order to block the Sheriff’s Department from disclosing records from incidents that took place before Jan. 1, when the transparency law went into effect.
Like other unions, the Assn. of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs argued that applying Senate Bill 1421 retroactively would violate longstanding legal protections for officer personnel files.
“To have the rug pulled out from under them isn’t fair,” Jacob Kalinski, an attorney for the AOCDS, said after a hearing on the request. He noted his request is meant to pause any release of records so the legal issues involved can be examined more closely.
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