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ACLU Charges Police With Withholding Public Records

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a lawsuit in Fresno County Superior Court, contending that city and police officials have violated the California Public Records Act, which typically requires public agencies to make records available within 10 days of a request.

The ACLU’s petition says the organization first requested training records from city and police officials on December 1, 2016. Since then, police have turned over some of the information, but not all of it, the petition states. “We are being as transparent as possible, providing as much information as we can,” Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. “However, we must be careful not to provide them with any training material or specific procedures that will compromise the safety of our officers by revealing tactics or confidential information.”

The court filing comes in the wake of an ACLU report, released in November, that says Fresno police officers fire their guns most often at black or Latino people. Between 2001 to 20016, Fresno police fired their weapons 146 times. “This is an average of approximately nine officer-involved shootings per year in Fresno, even though other jurisdictions can go years without a single officer-involved shooting,” the petition says. The organization wants a judge to order the city to turn over all training-related records, except those that the court has determined to be lawfully withheld.

Both sides were to meet with Court Commissioner Samuel Dalesandro on January 31st, 2018 to discuss the petition. 


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