City Attorney Evades Full Transparency of IACP Report

By: 
Stephen Downing

On July 7 the Beachcomber broke the news that – because of “the city’s ongoing commitment to be fully transparent,” City Manager Tom Modica sent an internal memo to the mayor and members of the City Council informing them that he had “directed the city attorney’s office to seek to have the protective order lifted” of the Phase Four International Association of Chief’s of Police (IACP) report that evaluates the Long Beach Police Department.

Recent developments indicate that what the city manager considers to be “fully transparent” does not square with City Attorney Charles Parkin’s definition of the term.

The Beachcomber has obtained a legal document prepared by outside attorneys representing the city that proposes a “Stipulation to Partially Vacate” the protective order sent to the two attorneys who are signatories to the protective order issued by the federal court.

Those attorney’s include Narine Mkrtchyan (representing Christopher Williams in an excessive force civil rights lawsuit against the city) and the IACP, the non-profit organization that conducted the deep dive study of the LBPD under a $96,000 contract, only to see the city withdraw from the contract following a telephone conference in which the IACP briefed the LBPD on the content of the report.

When the Beachcomber attempted to obtain the “courtesy copy” of the report sent to the city by the IACP at the time the IACP complied with the subpoena, the city assumed the dubious position that it too was a party to the protective order and refused to comply.

Multiple Beachcomber articles on the subject, including one published on June 8 entitled “What are the Cops, City Manager and City Attorney Hiding” (https://beachcomber.news/content/what-are-cops-city-manager-and-city-attorney-hiding) may have influenced the decision by the city manager to become “more fully transparent,” thus his direction to the city attorney.

However, the direction given by the city attorney to the outside law firm hired to defend the city does not translate to match the city manager’s stated intent to be “fully transparent.”

The two attorneys who are under the protective order have been asked by the city’s legal representatives to sign a stipulation that asks the court to lift the protective order but the “ask” evades a full release of the report.

Instead it proposes that the attorney’s approve the stipulation to “vacate the protective order in part … subject to redactions made by the city relating to confidential and privileged information, including operational readiness and staffing levels that are protected by the official information and/or law enforcement privileges…”

The city does not specify what those redactions will be, but rather advances a “trust me” posture by requesting Mkrtchyan and the IACP attorney sign the legal document without knowing exactly what will be redacted.

The Beachcomber has reviewed the index related to the126-page IACP report and found nothing that fits the so-called “law enforcement privilege” advanced by the city attorney.

Christopher Williams attorney, Narine Mkrtchyan, told the Beachcomber, “I will not agree to any redactions unless I see them first.”

IACP attorneys did not return the Beachcomber’s messages requesting comment.

This developing story will be updated as more information is obtained.

Beachcomber articles that reveal the history of the IACP contract and the city’s actions to prevent public release of the report can be found at the following links:

https://beachcomber.news/content/international-association-assessing-police-dept

https://beachcomber.news/content/are-protests-and-movement-recall-mayor-garcia-cracking-city-hall-transparency

https://beachcomber.news/content/what-are-cops-city-manager-and-city-attorney-hiding

On July 16 investigative reporter Kevin Flores wrote an in-depth article for FORTHE titled: Long Beach Confidential: Assessment of Police Department Kept Under Wraps Since 2018 Could Soon Be Made Public. It is linked here with his permission. https://forthe.org/journalism/iacp-lbpd-assessment/

 

Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.
stephen.beachcomber@gmail.com.

 

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Comments

We the tax payer paid for this, what right does anyone in the city have to hide it from us. The only reason they have to hide it is if it paints a the LBPD in a bad light. Am 110% sure that if this report painted the LBPD in a good light, they would be releasing a copy to everyone and every newspaper, without delay. I am in shock that this report that is paid for by tax money can be and is hidden from us.. SMH.. These corrupt people need to be recalled.

God Bless The LBPD.

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