A California appeals court denied on Friday Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s bid to withhold police misconduct and shooting files the state maintains on local police and sheriffs, finding the move was premature but could be refiled in the coming weeks.
The State Attorney General’s Office argued in its July 2 appeal that a new state transparency law — opening access to records of sexual assault, dishonesty and serious use of force by California peace officers — should only require release of cases from officers’ employing agencies.
The case began early in the year with complaints filed by the First Amendment Coalition and KQED against the attorney general in a San Francisco court, arguing that the office should provide all the responsive files it possesses.
In May, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the First Amendment Coalition and KQED and ordered the Attorney General’s Office to negotiate a schedule for producing documents.
The state Department of Justice then provided records from two internal investigations involving former state agents. It has an unknown number of files on police shooting and misconduct cases concerning local departments that the attorney general is arguing should not be released.