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KPBS Midday Edition

More police records released under SB-16, but full transparency is a ways off

joe young taser fire.jpg
San Diego County Sherrif's Department
A screenshot of body camera footage released by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department that shows deputies subduing Joe Young on Dec. 21, 2019. Young was tased three times and the taser ignited a lighter in his pocket started a fire. Young was later treated for his injuries at a hospital and the charges against him were dismissed.

Since the beginning of the year, California law enforcement agencies have been required to release records involving police misconduct, specifically discrimination. The state law, SB-16 went into effect last year, but agencies had a one-year grace period. It was designed to make policing in the state more transparent.

A story by CBS8 is highlighting some of the most egregious instances of misconduct from newly released records, including a San Diego police officer who was caught yelling, "I kill (N-word) for a living, I am a cop".

KPBS Editor Claire Trageser said the new law helps with transparency in policing, but it does not go all the way. Since the law enforcement agencies get to interpret what should be released, they can hide information in the grey areas.


"Maybe they get a complaint that an officer said something racist during a traffic stop, and they look into it, and they decide that's unfounded, there isn't enough evidence, and so then we just wouldn't know about that case," Trageser said.

Trageser joined Midday Editon Monday, to talk about what she has found as she digs through the recently released records from the San Diego Police Department, and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

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