National Freedom of Information Coalition
Protecting Your Right to Open Government

California Attorney General backs bill to improve disclosures on police shootings

California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris wants to require police agencies to file detailed reports about officer-involved shootings to her office electronically, so they can be quickly and easily posted on a state website for public viewing.

Despite the heated national debate over police use of force, no reliable database tracks all police shootings in California, making it difficult for researchers to definitively answer some fundamental questions, including whether minorities are shot at disproportionately higher rates and which departments pull the trigger most often.

For years, state law required police departments to report deaths in custody, including fatal officer-involved shootings, but the requirement had little enforcement and many departments routinely neglected to file the required information. Continue…