The Long Beach Police Department says the recent destruction of more than 20 years of internal affairs records had nothing to do with the new transparency law going into effect, but the department acknowledges the documents may have been subject to the new law.
The purge was first reported by FORTHE Media following a City Council vote on Dec. 18. Senate Bill 1421 will allow the public to obtain the personnel and investigatory records of officers using deadly force, engaging in dishonesty or who are involved in sustained acts of on-duty sexual assault, unless the documents have been destroyed.
A similar vote in Inglewood to destroy 20 years of records of police shootings and use of force has civil rights leaders calling for officials to rescind the decision. Officials acknowledge it is possible that some of the records could be subject to SB 1421.
The council made changes to the record-retention schedule and, a week later, authorized the destruction of police records with no consultation with the community or public discussion.
When questioned over the records destruction, one councilperson claimed ignorance of the law they had just passed.