Open Letter to Long Beach City Council Members 9/13/19 re: Records Destruction

To: Members of the Long Beach City Council:
From: Long Beach residents and community organizations
Date: September 13, 2019
Re: Agenda item #21 for Council Meeting 9/17/19


This letter is in response to Long Beach City Council’s upcoming vote on Tuesday, September 17th on item #21 regarding the Police Officer Association’s request for acceptance of a proposed addition to their city contract, Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). We as a community, are extremely concerned about section IX “Public Records Requests”.

Long Beach Post’s September 10th, 2019 article on this proposal stated that the LB City Council is set to review and approve the Long Beach Police Department contract which includes a new provision whereby the Long Beach police officers would get a heads-up about who is asking to see officers public records of misconduct or times they used excessive or deadly force. This is a blatant undermining of Senate Bill 1421, the landmark police transparency law that went into effect in January 2019. Senate Bill 1421 mandates disclosure of police reports and discipline records whenever an officer was dishonest, sexually abused a member of the public or where there has been serious uses of force such as police shootings.

Section “IX Public Records Requests” on pg 34 of the MOU between the City of LB and the LB Police Officers Association, states that:

  1. If the department determines responsive records exist, the department shall notify the involved active employee (officer) on the same day the requestor obtains notice.
  2. That the involved employee can review the records 5 days prior to public release.
  3. It further states that, the involved active employee (officer) notification shall include: the date of the request, the requestor’s name and/or organization, and the nature of the information requested.

Approving the LBPD contract/MOU with this provision would show city of Long Beach communities that City Council members are in the business of valuing police privilege over legal transparency, protecting violent police officers, and overlooking the community’s safety. This would be a dangerous mistake and unacceptable to the residents of this city.

Collectively and in unity, we demand that you remove Section IX of this MOU before voting to accept this MOU.

In closing, this is a community letter supported by Long Beach residents, in particular, families who have been impacted by police violence, their representatives, and other supportive Long Beach organizations who will protect the public requests of police records under SB 1421. You were all elected as representatives to serve the people of various districts throughout the city of Long Beach. We, your voting constituents, do not
condone approving this MOU with Section IX included. We do not accept that you would vote to protect violent police officers. This is utterly disrespectful and puts Long Beach residents in danger. Therefore, again, we demand that you remove Section IX of this MOU before voting.

Supported by the following 20 organizations AND MORE…
Black Lives Matter LBC (BLMLBC)
Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)
Immigrants Rights Coalition ( IRC)
LA County Public Defenders, AFSCME Local 148
CSULB Black Student Union (BSU)
Greater Long Beach, ICO
Long BeachCommunity Action Partnership (LBCAP)
Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and Healthy Community
Housing Long Beach
Council on Americal Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)
Long Beach Forward
Sanctuary Coalition: (Latinos In Action, Khmer Girls In Action, Sacred Resistance,
Filipino Migrant Center, National Immigration Law Center)
STOPLAPD Spying Coalition
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
BlackLivesMater Global Network (BLM)
National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
Democratic Socialists of America-Long Beach Chapter (DSA-LB)