California's new Attorney General Rob Bonta announced an "effort to increase transparency" and "accelerate" the release of police use-of-force and misconduct records Friday, well over two years after a landmark police transparency law granted public access to those files and KQED requested them via the state Public Records Act.
But Bonta's press release glosses over or completely omits aspects of long-running litigation brought by KQED and the First Amendment Coalition, including the California Department of Justice's continued withholding of some of the most crucial files related to potential crimes committed by police officers, according to attorneys involved in the case.
"For decades, peace officer misconduct records have been shrouded in secrecy," Bonta said in a press release. "At the California Department of Justice, we know it's on us to set the standard and we're ready to take on this important challenge."
The announcement comes amid an ongoing lawsuit filed by the First Amendment Coalition and KQED in early 2019, after Bonta's predecessor Xavier Becerra refused to provide state-level records on police shootings, sexual assault and dishonesty by law enforcement.