California AG Says Journalist Broke The Law By Obtaining A List Of Convicted Officers Via A Public Records Request

from the you-crafty-bastards-used-the-law-to-harm-law-enforcement! dept

California journalists legally obtained a document no law enforcement agency wants them to have. Naturally, the state's best friend to bad cops, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, is claiming it's illegal for these journalists to possess a document handed to them in response to a public records request.

Thousands of California law enforcement officers have been convicted of a crime in the past decade, according to records released by a public agency that sets standards for officers in the Golden State.

The revelations are alarming, but the state’s top cop says Californians don’t have a right to see them. In fact, Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned two Berkeley-based reporters that simply possessing this never-before-publicly-released list of convicted cops is a violation of the law.

The UC Berkeley journalists asked for police misconduct documents from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training -- taking advantage of the state's new law that opens access to these long-hidden files -- and ended up with the entire list of law enforcement officers who have been convicted of crimes.

This list of names is very definitely of public interest. The journalists are vetting the list to ensure they haven't misidentified any of the 12,000 officers on the list and have not published it in full. Still, they're being told by the man at the top of the law enforcement food chain they've broken the law simply by taking possession of a document handed to them by a state agency. He has ordered the documents destroyed. Good luck with enforcing that. If anything, AG Becerra's incursions on the First Amendment will help ensure the information is published once it's been vetted.

What's included in the list of convicted officers is disturbing. I guess we should all be relieved these acts actually resulted in convictions. The long list of criminal acts includes possession of child porn, numerous acts of domestic violence, embezzlement, driving while intoxicated, and -- in one case -- impersonating an officer to purchase restricted weapons and ammo shortly after the officer lost his job.

These are facts the public deserves to know. That they've been hidden so long is an indictment of California's law enforcement agencies and the politicians who worked so tirelessly to ensure their misdeeds remained hidden. The AG stepping to tell journalists they can't have a document they already have is the wrong kind of audacious. Taxpayers pay the salaries of sworn police officers. They have a right to know how they're money is being spent and whether that money is being used to pay the salaries of officers who have broken the law.

Filed Under: california, criminal cops, foia, free speech, journalism, public records, transparency, xavier becerra


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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 10:35am

    That can't be right...

    The journalists are vetting the list to ensure they haven't misidentified any of the 12,000 officers on the list and have not published it in full.

    That's odd, hasn't the public been told time and time again that it's only 'a few bad apples'? Twelve thousand officers(or less if a given officer had multiple convictions before/if they were fired) in a single state over the course of a decade is just a wee bit higher than 'a few', such that I suspect that the real objection here is that the list shows just how fatally flawed the 'it's only a few, there's no need to look any closer or pass any laws to hold them accountable' narrative is, not to mention providing the possibility to check convictions vs continued employment.

    While I strongly suspect that the AG's demand is nothing but an empty bluff, if it were based upon an actual law I'd say that would be even worse. 'It's illegal to have evidence of criminal convictions of police' is the sort of law you'd expect straight out of a dystopian/dictatorial fictional book, not one actually on the books.

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  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 10:51am

    Police, the only people to have the constitutional rights

    This state AG has just outed themselves as being in the pocket of the police. Nothing they ever say about police can be trusted now or in the past based on this alone.

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  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 10:53am

    Re: That can't be right...

    And those are only the ones that someone saw fit to do something about. Very probably the merest tip of the iceberg.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 10:56am

    The revelations are alarming, but the state’s top cop says Californians don’t have a right to see them.

    Funny how a law enforcement official says we don't have a right to see records of criminals being convicted of crimes. If these were records of the rest of us, he'd be tripping over his ass patting himself on the back touting what a great job his officers are doing.

    Why isn't he proud of his officers getting rid of the scum that are making the rest of them look bad?

    What are the odds that the lion's share of scumbags on this list are probably still employed as police officers? Because frankly, I can't see any other reason why he wouldn't want to brag about 12,000 arrests.

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  5. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    Why isn't he proud of his officers getting rid of the scum that are making the rest of them look bad?

    What are the odds that the lion's share of scumbags on this list are probably still employed as police officers?

    You answered your own question, because odds are good most of them weren't gotten rid of, and are still on the payroll to this day.

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  6. identicon
    Prinny, 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:07am

    Re: That can't be right...

    The concept of the day is the Chinese Robber Fallacy, dood:

    There are over a billion Chinese people. If even one in a thousand is a robber, you can provide one million examples of Chinese robbers to appease the doubters. Most people think of stereotyping as “Here’s one example I heard of where the out-group does something bad,” and then you correct it with “But we can’t generalize about an entire group just from one example!” It’s less obvious that you may be able to provide literally one million examples of your false stereotype and still have it be a false stereotype. If you spend twelve hours a day on the task and can describe one crime every ten seconds, you can spend four months doing nothing but providing examples of burglarous Chinese – and still have absolutely no point.

    If we’re really concerned about media bias, we need to think about Chinese Robber Fallacy as one of the media’s strongest weapons. There are lots of people – 300 million in America alone. No matter what point the media wants to make, there will be hundreds of salient examples. No matter how low-probability their outcome of interest is, they will never have to stop covering it if they don’t want to.

    Also worth considering is the Power Law, dood, (AKA the 80/20 rule,) which suggests that, if there are any multiple offenders on the list to reduce the number, that the number of bad apples is significantly less than 12,000.

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  7. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:16am

    Re: That can't be right...

    I'm wondering what the grounds are for him declaring it a crime to possess.

    I've had to request (well, subpoena) records on a particular cop, and even though the request was by name and badge number, the records we got back had the cop's name redacted in every instance.

    Maybe that's the line he's going to take?

    It's still too late. If I do a FOIL request for the Environmental Impact Studies of a federal dam project and they screw up and send me the nuclear launch codes instead, the crime isn't on my end - even if I publish them.

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  8. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    If you think about it, applying 80/20 actually makes it worse.

    A Day in the Life of a California Cop...

    Smack the wife around because she's hogging the bathroom when I need to get in there to watch my kiddie porn while drinking half a bottle of vodka before work, then....

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  9. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re:

    Police unions. The major "contributor" to AG races.

    One thing I find surprising - the unions haven't decreed changing the name of the "reports" so the disclosure law doesn't apply.

    "Misconduct" changed to "Departmental Query" or the like.

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  10. icon
    Killercool (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Not a list of 12,000 crimes, a list of 12,000 criminals. Criminals in a position of trust and power, defended by their superiors and leaders, and considered more trustworthy by our justice system than any other member of the public. 12,000 criminals, convicted by the justice system, (likely) with a large portion of them keeping their position and power, or at worst, being allowed to get a similar position with a new precinct. 12,000 criminals who are vociferously and publicly supported by the lion's share of allegedly non-criminal officers simply because they share a uniform.

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  11. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Please don't give them ideas, the ones they already have are bad enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    'There's a lot of cops total, therefore you'd expect even a small fraction to add up to a large number' kinda misses the point I was trying to make, in that the public is told again and again that police corruption isn't really a problem worth dealing with because it's only 'a few bad apples', yet twelve thousand is anything but 'a few'.

    That many is definitely grounds to look into the problem, something that the AG is essentially arguing to be illegal by saying that merely having the evidence of convictions of cops is illegal, and if you can't even examine basic information like that good luck addressing the problem on a larger scale.

    Also worth considering is the Power Law, dood, (AKA the 80/20 rule,) which suggests that, if there are any multiple offenders on the list to reduce the number, that the number of bad apples is significantly less than 12,000.

    That would actually seem to make it even worse, as for the number of 'bad apples' to be 'significantly less' than 12,000 then there would have to be a significant number of repeat offenders, those that have been convicted and yet still kept their jobs.

    "We don't have 12,000 convicted police on the paycheck, we only have 8,000, a good number of which are really bad about the whole 'following the law' bit.'

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  13. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    'There's a lot of cops total, therefore you'd expect even a small fraction to add up to a large number' kinda misses the point I was trying to make, in that the public is told again and again that police corruption isn't really a problem worth dealing with because it's only 'a few bad apples', yet twelve thousand is anything but 'a few'.

    Isn't that the whole point of the fallacy, though? That when you consider absolute numbers rather than relative population sizes, what might intuitively look like "anything but a few" can actually turn out to be a statistically irrelevant percentage?

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    identicon
    Prinny, 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Exactly, dood! If it wasn't an easy mistake to make, there'd be no need to name it as a fallacy!

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  15. icon
    TomStone (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:52am

    Becerra is there to protect the status quo

    He does a lot of virtues signalling, 46 lawsuits filed against the Trump Administration. Among the most important issues he studiously hasn't noticed are the problems at CalPers which have been covered so well at the "Naked Capitalism" blog. Issues like board elections that violate California Election Laws and the blatant failure of the board members to live up to their fiduciary duties. It's a $350 Billion pension fund and the CEO lied on her employment application...BTW she only has a High School education.

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  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_law_enforcement_agencies_in_California

    "According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics' 2008 Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, the state had 509 law enforcement agencies employing 79,431 sworn peace officers, about 217 for each 100,000 residents.[1]"

    so roughly 15% of officers. are criminals.
    That is high no mater what standard you are using.

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  17. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    My DDG-fu was not on game today, took me longer than it should to find the relevant numbers. That said, think I found what I was looking for.

    Assuming I'm reading the numbers right, the BLS lists california employment of 'Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers' at 73,000 as of 2017. You could pad the number a bit by adding in 'Detectives and Criminal Investigators'(11,700), maybe adding in 'Correctional Officers and Jailers'(36,730) assuming those are in the pot of 12,000 as well(the first maybe, the second unlikely I'd think), and even then you'd have just under 10% of officers convicted in court(just the first and the number jumps to 16%).

    'One in ten' strikes me as anything but a 'statistically irrelevant' amount(especially when you consider how bad their behavior would have to be for it to even reach that point), given we're talking about people who are tasked with upholding the law, granted significant legal protection by the courts and (theoretically) held to a higher standard.

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  18. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Not necessarily. Right around 85% of people are basically honest and decent in general, with the rest being willing to commit dishonest acts to further their own interests. Which suggests that California police are... well... basically normal human beings.

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  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    being allowed to get a similar position with a new precinct.

    THIS is the most salient point here. This list will allow the journalists to investigate precinct shopping, highlighting how the same bad apples get moved from barrel to barrel, AND how some precincts are less than vigorous in vetting their applicants.

    Remember: while this data may be new to the general public, it's always been accessible to precinct HR.

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  20. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    You pulled stats for "officers" in one year. The convictions are over a ten year period.

    While all kinds of statistical "analysis" (fudging) can be done with that, 12-15% is in line with the general populace in any given year.

    And people are getting upset that it's law enforcement doing the crimes.

    What they should be upset with isn't the cops, but the Unions that allow such to retain their jobs.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:15pm

    What about the non-police officer who was doxxed?

    These journalists clearly need the book thrown at them since this list illegally includes a non police officer on it. Per the article the list included a former police officer who got caught impersonating an officer.

    The virtuous AG is just protecting this innocent civilian from be wrongly doxxed by those over zealous "journalists".

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  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    In 2017, ~120,000 people were employed by law enforcement in California, of which ~80,000 were sworn law enforcement officers. According to this, law enforcement officer turnover in California was ~12% in 2008. Assuming that both the total number and turnover rates were constant, then the total number of police officers employed in California over the last decade was ~166,400. (The same source shows that turnover was similar in both 2003 and 2008, so this assumption is somewhat reasonable. It's less obvious that the number of officers would remain constant, though since it's most likely that the number of officers increased over the last decade, this assumption is quite conservative).

    The source article linked in this post states that the list contained 12,000 names, not 12,000 crimes, so it's fairly safe to assume that there are 12,000 police officers included.

    Then, out of the 166,400 police officers employed in the state of California over the last decade, 7.2% of them were convicted of a crime.

    If we look at crime rates in California over the last decade, violent crime rates hovered around 0.5% while property crime rates hovered around 3%. Meaning that the percentage of police officers convicted of a crime is around 2 times higher than the overall rate of crime in California. And as you pointed out, the overall rate of crime is biased upwards by the power law, so that the percentage of criminal police officers is actually more than 2 times higher than the percentage of criminals in California overall.

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  23. icon
    Nicola Lane (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:20pm

    Horrified/Amazed!?

    In the UK a police officer getting a criminal conviction is "discreditable conduct", that officer will find themself in front of a misconduct hearing - which is actually a public hearing. At this hearing they will almost certainly be sacked - and then placed on the barred list - which means that they can not work for any police force in the country again - and in most cases the barred list is public (You can search this here: https://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Ethics/integrity-and-transparency/Barred-List/Pages/Search. aspx ). A police officer cannot escape misconduct procedings by resigning, and they can't retire until proceedings are completed.

    Given that our officers are not routinely armed and our officers don't do "civil forfiture" - why are you standards so much lower than ours???

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  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Except that Police are supposed to be better vetted and WAY more honest then the average citizens.

    so yes this is very bad numbers.

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  25. icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Horrified/Amazed!?

    Policy and Union protection allow in most cases an officer under investigation to transfer out to another department, effectively halting the investigation.

    As to the number caught and convicted, we've got about five times the population of Great Britain.

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  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:30pm

    Re: What about the non-police officer who was doxxed?

    Really bro? That’s the hill your gonna die on? Maybe try writing a second draft before you run about clutching pearls to chest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Isn't it a list of 12,000 officers, not violations? The rate is almost 3.3 officers a day for a decade that were convicted of a crime. That number is sure not insignificant.

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  28. icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:31pm

    The law in question...

    The letter from Attorney General Xavier Becerra references §§ 11105, which seems to be this.

    Any information obtained from the state summary criminal history is confidential and the receiving public utility or cable corporation shall not disclose its contents, other than for the purpose for which it was acquired. ...

    A violation of this paragraph is a misdemeanor, and shall give the current or prospective employee who is injured by the violation a cause of action against the public utility or cable corporation to recover damages proximately caused by the violations. ...

    For purposes of this paragraph, cable corporation means any corporation or firm that transmits or provides television, computer, or telephone services by cable, digital, fiber optic, satellite, or comparable technology to subscribers for a fee. ...

    So, unless I'm missing anything, I don't think the journalists are in any trouble.

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  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    If someone gains access to launch facilities with the codes you published and destroys millions of lives, you will have a llot of blood on your hands. Don't be such an idiot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:40pm

    Oops

    The letter also references § 11143:

    Any person, except those specifically referred to in Section 1070 of the Evidence Code , who, knowing he is not authorized by law to receive a record or information obtained from a record, knowingly buys, receives, or possesses the record or information is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    But I wonder if that would stand up to a constitutional challenge.

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  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Police, the only people to have the constitutional rights

    Law enforcement is the meat and potatoes for these state and local district attorneys.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, I concur.. do not give them ideas.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Bruce C., 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Ignoring for the moment that the actual numbers have nothing to do with the right to know or even possess such a document, we can't know if the "Chinese Robber fallacy" applies unless we have a rough guess at the total number of police officers.

    If you apply the factor of 1 in 1000 to the number of convicts in the list that gives on the order of 12 million officers in California, which is unlikely in a state totaling 40 million people. Let's say, just for grins, that 5%-10% of the population of CA is in law enforcement. This gives somewhere between 2 million and 4 million officers and a resulting % of bad cops of 0.6% to 0.3%. A "small" portion to be sure, but not insignificant. And TBH, I think the percentage of cops per population is closer to 1/100. which gives 400,000 officers and a 3% conviction rate.

    Even if the number of convicted cops is "statistically insignificant", you can't fall prey to the fallacy that statistically insignificant = 0. Otherwise you could prove that earth doesn't exist.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:50pm

    Re: What about the non-police officer who was doxxed?

    These journalists clearly need the book thrown at them since this list illegally includes a non police officer on it.

    According to the article:

    The journalists are vetting the list to ensure they haven't misidentified any of the 12,000 officers on the list and have not published it in full.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Bruce C., 27 Feb 2019 @ 12:52pm

    Devil's advocacy...

    (pun not intended).

    The AG may have a basis for his illegality argument if the data contains convictions that have been expunged under first offender or other rehabilitation programs.

    Cops have just as much right to hide expunged convictions as anybody.

    On the flip side, why would a California agency be retaining expunged conviction records on anybody, let alone cops? I await further developments.

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  36. icon
    jdc (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: That can't be right...

    The Chinese Robber Fallacy requires the overall population to be large as compared to the guilty population. And yes, big numbers look impressive. So I decided to go to google and find out how many police officers California has in total. That way I could get a nice order of magnitude estimate on what percentage of police officers were bad apples.

    Well, the US Bureau of Justice Statistics' 2008 Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies had the total number of officers in California at 79,431. Ouch. That's a fairly small number, given the list of 12,000. Now let's assume that we have only 1,200 per year. So a rough order of magnitude tells me that 1,200/79,431 = 1.5% of the police force is crooked.

    Not quite as bad as feared, but still too high in my opinion.

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  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Not as much of an idiot as you for writing that pile of flaming garbage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Of that 12% turnover, what percentage was a move from one force to another? It certainly reduces the number of officers employed over that period within the state.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    That would be "only" 1.5% of officers that are convicted in a given year.

    But far more than 1.5% must be crooked, because the average officer tenure is surely much longer than one year.

    If we assume average tenure is 10 years (not unreasonable I think; these are union jobs) then it's 15% that are crooked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    ...and of course, what fraction of crooked cops actually get convicted by a court?

    Whatever the number is, it's surely less than the conviction rate for guilty non-cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Oops

    It already has failed to. Courts across the country, including CA have regularly ruled that if a journalist receives documents through legal channels, like a proper FOI law request, it is the issuing party's responsibility to ensure the documents providing are cleared for release. If they fail to redact sensitive, private or classified information or provide records that should have been withheld, the requesting party is not required to destroy or honor the intended redactions. The providing party can request this information be withheld from public statements and reporting, but the requesting party is under no obligation to do so.

    In many rulings, it has also been ruled legal for journalists to publish information classified for national security reasons that was obtained illicitly. Obtaining that information illicitly would be a crime and the journalist would have potential criminal exposure if he was involved in the illicit actions, but publishing it the information is not the criminal act.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Cops don't get convicted of "dishonest acts". Thanks to the unions they only get convicted of seriously egregious offenses. Are 15% of all people convicted of similar offenses? Seems to me the percentage of bad cops is much higher than that of bad people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Peace Officer Standards and Training to keep information in its records showing when a current or former law enforcement officer is convicted of a felony or other crime that would disqualify them from being a cop.

    Also

    a list of what the agency says are convictions of current and former law enforcement officers and people who at one time had tried to become a cop.

    So... not 12,000 cops. 12,000 cops, former cops AND wannabe cops combined. ... and with no information in the article(s) describing the numbers in each category.

    Given that it covers 10 years, odds are real good that many of the people who were convicted while serving are no longer serving (just as many of those who were NOT convicted are no longer serving), for the same assortment of banal reasons: better pay in the private sector, retired, didn't get along with the boss or coworkers. As well as the less banal ones: fired for cause, for instance.

    Sorry, there's another shoe out there, and I expect we'll hear it hit the floor soon.

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  44. identicon
    Bruce C., 27 Feb 2019 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Yes, while I was composing my speculation, a lot of people took the time to look up some of the actual numbers and give us a much more accurate range of the crime rate among officers vs. the population at large. A much more pertinent discussion than I could make in the time I had available.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 3:07pm

    Re: What about the non-police officer who was doxxed?

    Be careful with sarcasm and facetiousness, especially on an article like this. We have enough genuine trolls around (and misguided idiots) that would post this earnestly.

    Good first draft, but tweak your tone and word choice a little. Sarcasm is hard without context.

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  46. icon
    JohnnyRotten (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 3:21pm

    Well...

    Barn, meet horse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 3:26pm

    Re: That can't be right...

    Dear AG Becerra,

    Regarding your claim that it's illegal for journalists to possess and/orpublish a list of police officers convicted of crimes... perhaps you should read New York Times v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), more popularly known as the Pentagon Papers case. They just made a Tom Hanks movie about it if reading the opinion is too much trouble for you.

    One would expect the attorney general of the most populous state in the nation would already know such things, but alas you've shown yourself to be a continual disappointment in that regard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Devil's advocacy...

    The AG may have a basis for his illegality argument if the data contains convictions that have been expunged under first offender or other rehabilitation programs.

    Cops have just as much right to hide expunged convictions as anybody.

    All that means is that the state records are voided. It doesn't mean the state can criminalize possession and publication of the information.

    The US Supreme Court has ruled definitively on this. So long as the reporter has come by the information legally-- as they did in this case-- the government cannot prohibit its publication. This is the basis of the Pentagon Papers case, where reporters came into possession of classified military information-- material and troop movements during a time of war-- and the government tried to prohibit the New York Times and Washington Post from reporting on it. The Court ruled publication was protected by the 1st Amendment.

    If even sensitive and classified military information during wartime is fair game for publication, the CA attorney general is gonna have hard time arguing that a list of dirty cops is somehow a bridge too far and is outside the scope of 1st Amendment protection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    According to this, law enforcement officer turnover in California was ~12% in 2008.

    Your source, Rates and Patterns of Law Enforcement Turnover: A Research Note (Wareham, Smith, and Lambert: 2013), shows on p.14 in “Table 3. Mean Law Enforcement Turnover Rates by State”, on line 5 in the body of the table, corresponding to California, in the rightmost pair of columns, that 2003 total turnover was 9.19%, and 2008 total turnover was 8.28%.

    To my eyes, these numbers are not “~12%”.

    You possibly got your “~12%” from line 4, corresponding to Arkansas? Depending on your PDF viewer, you may have had to turn your head, rather than orient the page in landscape, and a sideways table could make it hard to distinguish line 4 from line 5.

    In any case, “total turnover” would seem to count separations where an employee left one agency to obtain employment in another agency while remaining employed in the field or profession, and in the same state. So there are further questions about your calculations—following the basic question about your source for the input statistic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. identicon
    Personanongrata, 27 Feb 2019 @ 5:31pm

    Rule of Law? Or Rule of Man?

    California AG Says Journalist Broke The Law By Obtaining A List Of Convicted Officers Via A Public Records Request

    Unfortunately for the 40,000,000 people in California that Attorney General Xavier Becerra apparently does not recognize as his or law enforcements equals (however he does a fabulous job in looking after California's 80,000 active duty and 700,000 retired law enforcement officers interests) he is not up for re-election until 2022.

    http://worldpopulationreview.com/states/california-population/

    https://www.ppic.org/publicatio n/law-enforcement-staffing-in-california/

    https://transparentcalifornia.com/pensions/2016/?page=2

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2019 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    Really at that point publishing them is probably the safest thing to do since it forces them to do it properly and change everything instead of half-assing it. Not to mention if you are close enough to enter codes while not working there the entire building probably needs fired.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. icon
    Eldakka (profile), 27 Feb 2019 @ 11:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    While all kinds of statistical "analysis" (fudging) can be done with that, 12-15% is in line with the general populace in any given year.

    That is not acceptable.

    With their position of power, the police are required to be better than the average populace. Otherwise, whats the point of them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. identicon
    Rog S., 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:01am

    Re: Rule of Law? Or Rule of Man?

    Thank you for those excellent statistics. That means that nearly 1/40 CA citizens is police union affiliated.

    Then, all the active /retired military /spooks, etc., on down to Americas Army of Paul Blart the Mall Cop, number in the millions there too.

    Which can easily contribute evidence to the claim that we,are as a nation over-policed and some #conspiracytheorists even claim that the US is a full blown police -surveillance capitalism state now.

    So: why would anyone claim that modern mobs, aka “colliding parallel investigations ” as described by the Association of Threat Assesment Professionals, aka what is colloquially called organized gang stalking- is anything BUT that?

    ATAP “colliding parallel investigation" here:

    https://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.atapworldwide.org/resource/resmgr/2018-ATAP-Preliminary-TMC-Pr.pdf

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    blademan9999 (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    12,000 officers over 10 years means 1,200 a year if we make the assumption that any officer who gets convicted mulitple times will have all their convctions take place during the same year. So this is probably and underestimate.

    So this means that each year, ADLEAST 1% officers that are employed will get convicted of a crime even if we define officers very broadly.

    I can't seem to find the number of people connicted a year in california though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. icon
    blademan9999 (profile), 28 Feb 2019 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    *convicted

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2019 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    The fact that the stats are over a 10 year period and the number of officers used is only for one year makes no difference in the percentage calculation.

    Think of it this way 100k officers in 2017 does not mean that over a 10 year period there were 1 million officers. It most likely means that 2017 had the highest number of officers.

    If you want to know the percentage of bad apples, you count the total number of convictions over a given time period and divide by the number of unique officers employed over that time period, but you do not sum the number of officers employed every year over that time period.

    The calculations provided estimating 10% is a much more valid methodology compared to what you are suggesting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. icon
    Bergman (profile), 2 Mar 2019 @ 12:30am

    Re: Police, the only people to have the constitutional rights

    This.

    The only reason that the way cops are treated when accused of wrongdoing appears to be official corruption isn't specifically because they are being treated that way, it's because pretty much ONLY the political elite and cops get treated that way.

    That's what innocent until proven guilty, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to due process, the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and the right to a speedy trial look like in operation. That's how the legal system is supposed to treat everyone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Mar 2019 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: That can't be right...

    "statistically irrelevant" is a slippery phrase.

    I think you'll have a hard time convincing the victims of criminal cops that their situation is irrelevant, so nobody should do anything about those cops.

    The original point here isn't whether the size of the list is statistically significant in a state the size of California, it's that the AG wants to hide the existence and handling of the bad apples. The whole Chinese Robber Fallacy discussion is a tangent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. identicon
    OGquaker, 6 Mar 2019 @ 9:48pm

    That can't be right...

    Wouldn't the guys who had the fun (and paychecks) from inventing & building devices and testing, and then stealing the plutonium and U235 from electric ratepayers* that then vaporized tens of millions of people far away, that no one cares about, have that blood ** on their hands? Isn't building a thing to murder strangers a crime?

    • america boils water to make electricity because the 100's of $billions to make weapon grade radionuclide would otherwise have to go through Congress. ** I once owned movieblood.com, sold 30 gallons a month at $350/gallon; Hollywood teaches with blood.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. icon
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