Joint Statement from the Chief of Police and City Attorney

On February 14, 2020, a request for City records was made under the California Public Records Act (PRA), seeking certain information dating back to 2010. The list of requests is as follows:

“Any charts, analysis, studies, spreadsheets, summaries, lists, or other similar documents showing:

The age, race, and gender of every person stopped or detained by CCPD
The reason each of these people were stopped or detained by CCPD
Whether these people were arrested, ticketed or charged
If arrested, ticketed or charged, the statute or regulation violated
The result of the ticket (I.e. guilty, not guilty, no contest, and whether there was a trial on the merits)
CCPD’s policies on requiring a person stopped for traffic or other violations to be either handcuffed, sat on the curb, or other “safety measure”. For clarification, this request seeks information about why officers require some drivers or pedestrians to sit on the curb or be handcuffed, while other individuals do not have to do the same.
All lawsuits against CC or CCPD alleging race discrimination, racial profiling, etc.
All lawsuits against CC or CCPD alleging excessive use of force, false imprisonment, wrongful arrest, 42 USC 1983, Civil Code 52.1, or 63 violations. This request includes listing the case number, the parties, whether a verdict was reached, and if so the prevailing party, and the amount of judgment. If the case was resolved through settlement, the amount CC or CCPD paid to settle the case.
All complaints made against any officer or other CCPD employee, alleging race discrimination, racial profiling, or similar complaint. While the name of the employee may be redacted, the gender and race of the employee must be disclosed.
All training manuals or materials provided to any CCPD employees, concerning or related to racial profiling and/or race discrimination
All training manuals or materials, check lists, rules or regulations, provided to CCPD employees concerning or related to how to handle traffic stops, detaining pedestrians, when it is appropriate to handcuff individuals, when it it appropriate to require vehicle occupants to place their hands up and out windows, when it is appropriate to require vehicle occupants to exit their vehicle and sit on the curb or sidewalk.
The race and title of every CCPD employee who has worked for the CCPD in the past 10 years.”
In accordance with its standard practice and procedure, the Culver City Police Department (CCPD) responded to the request in consultation and collaboration with the City Attorney’s Office. The CCPD records lieutenant responded to a portion of the request (##1-6 above, and ##9-12), and the City Attorney’s Office responded to the requests for lawsuit information (##7 and 8 above).

CCPD Response to February Request

As to the requests ##1-5 listed above, CCPD responded that it was unable to provide the requested data concerning persons stopped and detained, as that information was not documented or retained in CCPD’s records databases.

On June 25, 2020, CCPD was made aware of a letter authored by the individual who submitted the PRA request, which was posted in the Culver City Crossroads online news publication. The letter stated the PRA requestor “submitted a public records act request to the City of Culver City for all documents reflecting the race of every individual arrested by CCPD, and the reason for arrest.” This statement is not consistent with the original PRA request, as listed above, which originally requested the information of every person “stopped or detained by CCPD,” significantly different information.

Further, at the time of the request, CCPD was not required by Government Code 12525.5(a)(2) of the Racial and Identity Profiling Act (Assembly Bill 953) to retain or report the information included in the PRA request. Under Government Code 12525.5(a)(2), law enforcement agencies employing “one or more but less than 334 peace officers shall begin collecting data on or before January 1, 2022, and shall issue its first round of reports on or before April 1, 2023.” CCPD employs 117 sworn officers, and engages in approximately 50,000 official contacts with the public each year.

The requestor also stated that “between 2017 and 2018” 320 juveniles were arrested by the Culver City Police Department,” referring to statistics she obtained from muckrock.com, regarding two years’ worth of arrests from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. Muckrock.com obtained these two years of arrest statistics from a previous public records request made to CCPD. These statistics appear to be accurate over a two-year period. Approximately 50% of these arrests were in response to radio calls for service for theft related crimes and/or trespassing. Approximately 25% of these arrests were in response to calls for service for crimes such as robbery, carjacking, residential burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. The remaining approximate 25% of juvenile arrests were for crimes such as gun and weapons possession, grand theft auto, sexual battery and drug possession.

The requestor also stated that CCPD arrested a 9-year-old Hispanic boy for disturbing the peace. After further review of this incident, it was determined that officers responded to a radio call of a fight at the Culver City Middle School. After completing an investigation, the involved juvenile was in fact 14 years of age. The reporting officer documented an incorrect date of birth on the police report, and the information was sent to muckruck.com as part of the CCPD public records response. The 14-year-old was cited and released at the scene for PC 415 (inciting a fight). The juvenile information was inadvertently disclosed by CCPD in error to muckrock.com and CCPD regrets the requestor chose to make such juvenile information public.

The City continually looks for additional measures for increasing transparency. CCPD has made it a top priority to expedite its efforts in obtaining the technology to process and retain the data that will be required under Government Code 15525.5, even before the 2022 deadline. More information on this may be obtained by contacting CCPD directly.

City Attorney response to February request (##7 and 8).

The City Attorney’s Office regularly responds in good faith to numerous requests for City records made by the public. After the requestor’s February PRA request, a search was performed of the City Attorney’s Office database for the requested categories of lawsuits, including racial discrimination and others. The resulting 12 cases retrieved were transmitted to the requestor by the City Attorney’s Office. CCPD was not involved in the search for records pertaining to lawsuits, and any allegations that CCPD or any officer may have purposely withheld certain lawsuits, due to individual officers being named or any other reason, are unfounded.

On Monday June 22, 2020, the City Attorney’s Office was informed by the PRA requestor that certain cases were omitted from the City’s response. Upon further review, the Office determined that certain cases were in fact inadvertently omitted. Through a manual review of documents contained in the database system, it was determined the omitted cases either were input into the system with incomplete date information, or the search fields did not contain the terms used by the requestor in the PRA request, i.e., race discrimination, racial profiling, excessive use of force, false imprisonment, wrongful arrest, 42 USC 1983, Civil Code 52.1, or 63 violations. As this is a voluminous database, the use of search terms is needed in order to conduct a reasonable search of identifiable public records. The City Attorney’s Office is working as quickly as possible to conduct a manual search of its database, to ensure the requestor is given a complete response to the PRA request.

The City Attorney’s Office and CCPD make every effort to be responsive to the public’s requests for information. Daily, City staff members spend a significant amount of time and resources conducting thorough searches and providing all responsive documents to PRA requests. We will continue to strive toward the goal of thoroughness and responsiveness, and we will work cooperatively with any member of the public making such requests.

City of Culver City

www.culvercitysymphony.org

1 Comment

  1. I am the writer of the letter to the editor, Annette Morasch.

    Please. Everyone note that neither the CCPD, nor the City Attorney, disputes the most disturbing fact I uncovered: the fact 90% of CCPD’s juvenile arrests are of children of color. In fact, neither the CCPD nor the City Attorney even address the disturbing racial composition of arrests in this town at all. The fact that both the CCPD and City Attorney chose to ignore this very real problem is unfortunate. In this time of great, united, national sorrow for the repeated murders of people of color, by police, one would hope our leaders would speak out loudly against racial profiling, discrimination and swear to seriously consider the fact CCPD has a statistically significant higher rates of arresting POC than our surrounding communities.

    It is very concerning for the CCPD to state that I because I originally asked for records showing the race of people “stopped or detained by CCPD,” that I was not asking for records which would necessarily include arrest reports showing the race of people who were….of course “stopped and detained.” Of course CCPD must stop and detain someone to arrest them. Penal Code 834 defines an arrest as “taking a person into custody, in a case and in the manner authorized by law.” How does the legal definition of “arrest” not be necessarily and logically included in my originally requested phrase, “stopped or detained”? If I am incorrect in that assertion, please advise on how I am incorrect. Please explain the magic words a citizen should have used to obtain the arrest reports. Please identify the specific individual(s) who decided the arrest reports do not fall into request No. 1 concerning the race of people “stopped or detained by CCPD.” Please explain how the two requests call for “significantly different information.”

    Next, CCPD confirms again that it represented to me that it did not document or retain demographic information of people “stopped or detained” and the reason for arrest, the citation violated, etc. CCPD states it is under no legal obligation to comply with the RIPA. That is irrelevant. The CCPD told me in writing, and then confirmed it through this Nixle post, that it does not maintain the demographic information of arrestees. And yet…and yet…it does. CCPD does maintain the records. And CCPD did not produce the records. Why would CCPD say the records do not exist, but they actually do exist? Why would CCPD say the records do not exist, but they produced those records to a different requester who is not a civil rights attorney?

    Next, the CCPD cites to percentages of initiating reasons for arrests, without linking to any data. Please note that the CCPDNext, the CCPD cites to percentages of initiating reasons for arrests, without linking to any data. Please note that the CCPD wrote the letter to me, and again put in this Nixle post that this data does not exist in response to my request number 2.

    Further, CCPD says it is “regrets [I] chose to make such juvenile information public.” I did not do that. CCPD did. It’s an easy internet search away with the right search terms. I posted first names OR last names. Never full names. CCPD did that.

    As to my lawsuits which were not produced in response to my requests. The City Attorney produced 12. But I discovered SEVEN more that existed. These lawsuits include the search terms I specifically requested. The City attorney references having to manually go through a “voluminous database.” Not so. It took me three hours and about $50 to find these cases…3 hours and $50 I should not have had to spend. You go to the USDC and LASC court database, type in “City of Culver City” and everything spits out.

    I look forward to an ongoing, accurate, transparent, and healthy discussion about race in Culver City. I am very happy to continue this in any public forum. I would ask, however, that if the CCPD and Culver City Attorneys refer to information, that they provide citations to facts, links to independently available statistics, etc. It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s that I don’t trust you.

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