FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2020
SAN JOSÉ, CA. - Today, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo will submit a directive calling for the city’s Public Information Office to produce use of force records previously requested under a public records request in January 2019 by news outlets. The records were legally requested under California’s new law enforcement transparency law, SB142
. As reported in the Mercury News
, city staff estimated it would take 4 years to produce the 86 requested records.
The Directive calls for the city’s Public Information Office to produce all primary reports within 30 days and other relevant and responsive records, such as video and audiotapes, within 90 days. The Directive further details the Public Information Office to request the Office of the District Attorney to assist with additional records-producing resources and staff to accelerate the process, if possible. The Mayor further directs the Public Information Office to report to Council at the next regularly scheduled meeting what progress has been made to comply with their June directive to release video footage of the recent protests.
“I have repeatedly expressed my concerns internally about the slow pace of the production of these records,” writes Mayor Sam Liccardo. “As a former criminal prosecutor, I am very familiar with the task of providing police reports and tapes to defense counsel, and of long hours that I spent next to a photocopy machine with a redacting pen to release police case files in a timely manner—typically within a couple of weeks.”
The city charter does not currently allow the Office of the Mayor to direct the City Manager or the Police Chief to produce public records, however, Section 502(g) grants the Mayor limited authority
to direct and supervise the city’s Public Information Office, allowing such a directive. Though that particular authority has rarely been used by mayors in the past out of respect for the current structure of the City Manager’s Office.
“The current pace the city is pursuing to release these requested records, despite direction from Council to come to an agreement on a reasonable schedule, has been unacceptable,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo.“Other cities are complying with state law in a rapid fashion, there is no reason San Jose should not do the same.”
According to an email directed to the Mayor from representatives at the Bay Area News Group, only 6 complete files and 18 incomplete files have been produced. The representative also indicated with this intolerable response they have no choice but to pursue legal action, further burdening the city during this unprecedented health and economic crisis.