Rob Bonta, the newly-confirmed Attorney General of California, said that his first order of business would be to implement a new law that requires the state’s top law enforcement officer (the state attorney general’s office) to investigate all fatal police shootings of unarmed civilians. Bonta noted that while the state, and nation as a whole, undergo this “racial justice awakening”, it is important to also have an awakening in “how the state polices.”
State lawmakers have been questioning Bonta’s office regarding if we would allow making police misconduct files public, would share the state’s gun database with firearm violence researchers and how his office would deal with a backlog in the state’s, unique, system of seizing lawfully obtained firearms from people convicted of certain firearm-prohibitive crimes or mental illness.
Now, how does all of this apply to you? Well, I can tell you from my decade-plus in practice that yes, law enforcement officers do commit misconduct. Almost everyone does, or has, committed some kind of misconduct, so it may be unfair to talk about this as something unique to police officers. However, law enforcement officers are in a unique position of being the ones who can take our liberty away, are in charge of “protecting and serving”, who are the ones who write police reports and are there to serve the public. If they commit misconduct, there is, arguably, “more to lose” than, let’s just say an office manager who steals some office supplies.
So, cop beat you up during your arrest? Cop write something on the report that wasn’t true? Cop take your money and not list it in your property receipt? Well, you might have some (more) official recourse now and a more streamlined way to obtain that recourse. If these misconduct files and complaints are made easier to access by attorneys, that can help us shed light on facts regarding a specific police officer that should be known to the prosecutor.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Los Angeles, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free case consultation. If you believe the police have committed misconduct or otherwise abused their power in dealing with you, also contact attorney Ross Erlich so that I can evaluate the facts and potential claims associated with the facts.