Press Release: Berkeley Police Sue City & Police Review Commission over Leak of Confidential Information
Oakland, California – When a police officer is asked to testify before a citizens’ Police Review Commission to recount, under oath, the details of a specific police incident, he or she does so under the promise of an impartial and confidential process. The law requires as much.
The Berkeley Police Association (BPA) says the City of Berkeley and its Police Review Commission (PRC) has broken that promise of confidentiality, announcing today that it filed a civil lawsuit yesterday in Alameda County Superior Court against the City of Berkeley and the PRC seeking injunctive relief and damages.
“The purpose of Berkeley’s PRC is to provide impartial, fair and confidential investigation of complaints – which cannot take place when its representatives break the law by leaking strickly confidential information to the press,” said Sergeant Chris Stines, President of the Berkeley Police Association.
On May 7, the Daily Californian published an extensive article detailing confidential information about the PRC investigation and findings related to the handling of the arrest of Kayla Moore in February 2013, claiming this detailed information was leaked to one of its reporters. BPA requested that the City of Berkeley conduct a formal investigation of the leak, with the City refusing to do so and, instead, requesting each individual PRC Commissioner to sign an affidavit stating that he or she did not provide the Daily Californian with any confidential information.
“This is absurd – signing a piece of paper after the fact saying they didn’t do anything wrong is not an investigation,” Stines said. “Berkeley Police are accountable to the law and the PRC must be, too. Anything less is hypocrisy.”
“The City needs to act responsibly by fully investigating and removing the leak,” Stines added.
“Berkeley police officers were promised a confidential process and that promise was broken by the City of Berkeley and its Police Review Commission,” said BPA attorney Tim Talbot, of Rains Lucia Stern. “The City did not even investigate the PRC, all of whom deny leaking the information and still remain on the PRC.”
According to Talbot, BPA does not believe its members should be forced to appear before the PRC and face the risk of further leaks. BPA’s attorneys are scheduled today at 9 a.m. to ask the Court for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) relieving its members from attending PRC proceedings until the source of the leak is determined, the responsible party or parties are removed from the PRC or denied all access to confidential information, or all PRC members are replaced.