Records That Police Unions Sued to Keep Secret Show East Bay Cop Disciplined for False Reports

A Walnut Creek police officer was disciplined in 2017 for 'false police reports,' according to the first records from the city after a court order blocking their release lifted on March 19. (iStock/Getty Images)

The first disciplinary records that a group of Contra Costa County law enforcement unions tried to keep secret in a court fight were made public late Tuesday and show a Walnut Creek officer was almost fired in 2016 for filing false police reports.

But Officer Curtis Borman managed to hang on to his job after the more serious charge of dishonesty was not sustained and his proposed termination was dropped in favor of a month-long unpaid suspension and other discipline, the records, released minutes after a stay ordered by appellate judges was lifted, show.

Unsealed: California's Secret Police Files
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Borman, who joined the Walnut Creek Police Department in 2014 according to state records, could not be reached for comment. Lawyers who argued that his case should remain secret didn't return a message Tuesday.

The Walnut Creek Police Officer's Association was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in January trying to stop that city, along with Antioch, Martinez, Richmond, Concord and Contra Costa County, from releasing records under California's new police transparency law, Senate Bill 1421. But Superior Court Judge Charles Treat ruled against the unions in February and the state's 1st District Court of Appeal declined earlier this month to continue blocking the release of records from the six agencies.

Law enforcement unions are arguing around the state that the new law should not apply to records created before 2019. Treat and half a dozen other judges have rejected that argument.

Officials in Richmond and Martinez said they may release records Wednesday. Messages to the other cities and the county were not answered.

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Walnut Creek police commanders became aware of alleged misconduct in late 2016, according to a summary of the misconduct released late Tuesday. Borman was found to have “violated several policies, including multiple examples of careless evidence handling (mainly digital evidence like photos) and misrepresenting his actions in police reports,” the summary says.

The summary notes that Borman was a “newer officer” in 2016, and he “had a good record of awards and proactive police work.”

Investigators initially recommended he be fired. The police chief found four policy violations, but determined “that the most serious allegation of dishonesty was unfounded,” according to the record.

In lieu of termination, Borman was suspended for 30 days without pay, and he entered into a “last chance agreement” and performance improvement plan. He was also removed from special assignments and disqualified from pay raises for a year.

“Officer Borman was given significant discipline before returning to full duty as a Patrol Officer,” the record says.

The release came the same day that 33 newspapers, public radio stations and online news outlets announced a collaboration — The California Reporting Project — to collect and share disciplinary records made publicly accessible under the new law.

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