Breaking News: Beachcomber Sues LBPD

By: 
Stephen Downing

On Sept. 11, the Beachcomber newspaper filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate with the Superior Court to enforce its right to receive previously denied public records from the City of Long Beach as provided in Senate Bill 1421, which became effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Thomas E Beck, Esq. of the Beck Law Firm, representing the Beachcomber, will serve the legal action on the city Thursday, Sept. 12.

The petition disputes the city’s refusal to produce records related to two serious LBPD misconduct investigations.

The first involves records sought that “reflect directly on the dishonest character of peace officers, along with the willful embezzlement of public funds in a corrupt overtime scheme which resulted in unearned public funds being paid to members of the Long Beach Police Department.”

Beachcomber attorney Thomas Beck wrote in the petition: “Such behavior is criminal regardless of the label the city chooses to apply to such internal investigations. Respondent is refusing to provide the requested public records as it is required to do so under current law by a self-serving and tortured interpretation of reporting an investigation or prosecution of a crime.”

The second public document refusal is related to a citizen-initiated complaint alleging unidentified Long Beach officers used excessive force during a temporary unlawful detention that “caused him great bodily injury by fracturing his arm and subsequently failed to provide medical aid.”

In the city’s first response to the Beachcomber’s Public Records Request, City Attorney Charles Parkin’s deputy denied document release, writing, “there was no serious injury, as required by SB 1421.”

When the Beachcomber provided hospital records confirming evidence of a broken bone – that had been in the city’s possession for months – Parkin’s deputy created a new excuse to deny in writing: “There was no contemporaneous report of pain at the time of the alleged force.  Based on the record you provided and the mechanism of injury that Mr. (Complainant) describes, (his) injuries are also not consistent with the type of force alleged.”

It was the judgment of the Beachcomber and attorney Beck that the deputy’s rationale in both cases had nothing to do with the legal requirements of SB 1421, making the legal action taken to be urgent, necessary and in the public interest.

Jay Beeler, the Beachcomber’s publisher, said of the Petition for Writ of Mandate to be served on the city is “A new, novel way for us to get the city to stop the stonewalling and sends the message for them to comply with the law. SB 1421 was enacted because the public has a strong, compelling interest in law enforcement transparency. It is essential to having a just and democratic society.”

 

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

I congratulate Jay Beeler on his integrity and willingness to fight to preserve the citizen's rights of discovery as afforded us by our State and our Federal Governments. Sunshine is always the best disinfectant.

It would appear that any progress in transparency and good conduct in the last 18 months, as has been expressed at various occasions by the LBPD, is non-existent. Chief Luna has not responded publicly (to my knowledge) to the California Police Scorecard which ranks the LBPD nearly last (96 of 100) police departments.
Thank you Beachcomber for taking on this onerous task.

The LBPD is a corrupted organization that should be investigated under the federal RICO statues, they feel they can act with impunity because they have the help of a corrupt city attorney office and a City Council that is just as corrupt which they have demonstrated by the conflict of interest scandal being investigated has we sit here today. They are helping the PD hide corrupt officer misconduct instead of being transparent and holding them accountable. Now the city is going to help theses corrupt officers hide misconduct being allowing them a to see who is requesting files on them five days before they are released to the public. this is classic organized crime behavior. The fed's need to be brought in to investigate the entire city of LB officials. LB let's stand up and demand a corrupt free city government.

I just read this regarding the 5 day notice LBPD officer want to receive regarding their misconduct files.
"Police representatives say that officers often don't know what is in their record.
"It would be grossly unfair for the officer to see this for the first time on the front page of the newspaper," James Foster, president of the Long Beach Police Officers Association", that's a joke the officer does know because they committed the misconduct. The POA president say's they don't know, lol .. they just trying to intimidate and hide misconduct files.. that union presidents sound like an idiot. lol puff

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