NBC4 I-Team

LA DA Demands Police Name-Names in Misconduct Files

George Gascón has asked every police agency in LA County to turn-over information on officers' dishonesty, excessive force, and law breaking

Los Angeles police headquarter in downtown Los Angeles.
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LA County District Attorney George Gascón has sent letters to every law enforcement agency in the County, demanding within 30 days the departments turn over the names of officers caught being dishonest, using excessive force, or committing other crimes or misdeeds of character. 

The DA's demand is aimed at assembling a master file of so-called Brady material, that will inform prosecutors about police officers with problematic histories, whose credibility could be challenged in court, according to a County official familiar with the effort.

Brady is a reference to the 1963 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that prosecutors have a duty to provide exculpatory information to defense lawyers before a trial. 

Records that detail a police officer's history of misconduct are considered potential impeachment evidence and must be turned-over.

However, police officers' records are cloaked by a special type of confidentiality in California, and under the current system, defense lawyers must ask a judge to review the files on a case-by-case basis to determine if they're relevant to a particular case.

During his campaign Gascón promised to create a "do not call" list of police officers who have problematic backgrounds and should not be asked to testify in court, and said his office would require prosecutors to notify defense attorneys when an officer involved in a case had been flagged.

The passage of Senate Bill 1421 allowed certain police misconduct investigations and findings to be made public, including records of dishonesty, sexual misconduct, and the use of deadly force.

"Brady" obligations can go much further, and can include information about officers caught taking bribes, tampering with evidence, discrimination, and domestic violence. 

“We are not aware at this time, the full scope of the District Attorneys request, however, we are looking forward to having a discussion with him about the details and opportunities to make law enforcement in our county the best in our nation,” Anthony Miranda, the president of the LA County Police Chiefs Association, told NBC News. 

A previous attempt to create a centralized data set of officer names in LA County faced resistance from some agencies and a legal challenge from at least one employee union.

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