ACLU Sues LAPD Over Timely Access to Public Records

The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit Tuesday against the Los Angeles Police Department for allegedly "stonewalling" in response to requests for public records.

The complaint, filed in federal court, contends the LAPD "consistently" disregards the 1968 California Public Records Act, which stipulates that an agency must respond to a request for public records within, at most, 24 days.

"Instead, the LAPD often refuses to respond to requests by journalists and others for months or even years, and in many cases does not respond at all,'' according to the ACLU of Southern California. "In cases where documents are finally released, the agency many times only partly fulfills the lawful requests." 

An LAPD spokeswoman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.

The suit asks a federal judge to compel the LAPD to track and report how it responds to public records inquiries for at least three years.

Joining the ACLU as plaintiffs are investigative reporter Ali Winston, associate UCLA history professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez, and activist and photographer Shawn Nee.

"Access to information about the conduct of government agencies is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state," said Adrienna Wong, attorney with the ACLU of Southern California. "The LAPD's stonewalling and disregard of legal requests denies the public's right to know." 

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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