Officers’ names to stay secret

first_imgThe Los Angeles Police Commission voted Tuesday to confirm its closed-door decision to withhold the names of officers who use serious force against the public, drawing the condemnation of civil libertarians. With little discussion, the panel unanimously underscored a directive approved in December after the police union threatened to sue to keep officers’ names secret. Civil libertarians, lawyers and the media have used the reports, with their context and thorough accounts of incidents, to track misconduct and hold the LAPD accountable. Commission President John Mack denied that the decision was at odds with a pledge to be more open and accountable, saying the public is better served by the anonymous case summaries the panel has begun posting online. “We’re adding information,” he said. “We feel equally strongly about protecting and respecting the due-process rights of police officers.” “We still are of the opinion that the entire chief’s report is confidential and should not be released,” he said. State law gives much deference to peace officers when it comes to their personnel information, but there are three cases before the state Supreme Court that could set important precedents, said Terry Francke of the open government group Californians Aware. The high court is considering a San Diego case regarding the release of officer information in the disciplinary process; an Oakland case about the release of officers’ names and salaries; and a statewide case on whether third parties such as the state Peace Officer Standards and Training agency can release information. Meanwhile, California has a patchwork of policies that vary from city to city. “I don’t think there’s a practice that most departments follow. It’s an individual decision by each agency how they handle it,” said Steve Krull, president of the California Police Chiefs Association. “There are some things that are governed by state law, but this isn’t one of them.” Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card But Catherine Lhamon, racial-justice director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, called the change “a serious step backwards” and cast doubt on the city’s legal rationale. “The public needs to be able to have confidence in their police department, and sunlight on the activities of the police is an important component of that,” she said. “The decision to withhold the name of an officer who wears his name on his badge is preposterous.” Neither the commissioners nor the City Attorney’s Office would elaborate on the legal reasons behind the change. Like most other law enforcement agencies, the Los Angeles Police Department will continue to release officers’ names in the immediate aftermath of shootings. The change relates to the reports the chief prepares for the commission at the conclusion of use-of-force investigations. The Police Protective League plans to keep pressing the panel to withhold the entire chief’s report because it is based on officers’ compelled statements and includes analysis of their actions, said Hank Hernandez, general counsel for the union. last_img read more

Soderberg, Poly try to reach high note

first_img Soderberg, who has a 3.8 GPA, doesn’t have any aspirations of having a musical career. Right now, it’s simply a means of escape. On Monday, the junior needed to escape after Poly fell hard to Mission Viejo, 9-6, and Mater Dei, 10-6, at the North Orange County Tournament to bring its record to 7-6 overall. Once again, the Jackrabbits face a giant of an opponent in Wilson today at 4 p.m. at Belmont Plaza Pool. Wilson’s Matt Sagehorn and Anthony Artukovich are out of the Bruins linuep while playing with the U.S. Junior National Team at the Junior Worlds in Argentina. “It’s easier to get settled down after games,” said Soderberg, who has been playing the instrument ever since first grade. “I practice every day.” He enjoys playing for elderly and ill patients in nursing homes. Every once in a while his piano teacher assembles a group of artists to entertain those less fortunate. Often times, David Soderberg sits at his piano inside his parents’ Long Beach home and plays music composed by Beethoven and Bach. He is also often heard playing “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. That’s how Poly High’s water polo star relaxes. center_img But Soderberg, at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, knows full well that it’s going to take an impressive performance by himself and his teammates to defeat the defending Moore League and CIF Southern Section Division I champs, who have an army of players capable of putting huge numbers on the scoreboard. Soderberg, who served mostly as a defensive specialist while competing for the Long Beach Shore and Golden West water polo clubs, is the Jackrabbits’ primary go-to guy in the post this season. The Swedish-born player replaced Kazu Miyahara in Poly’s lineup. Miyahara was lightning-quick in the pool and could rack up goals like points on a pinball machine last year. In 13 games this year, Soderberg has carried much of Poly’s offense from his 2-meter position, tallying 60 goals on a team that only has one other player with significant water polo experience prior to high school. “He has good strength. That helps him a lot,” said David’s father Lars about how his son has been able to excel against players who normally outweigh him by 20 pounds. “It’s a good opportunity to show everyone how good our team is,” said Soderberg about today’s game. “We’ve become more multidimensional. “My role is to be the team leader,” Soderberg added. “If anyone is going to have to step up, it has to be me. (The Bruins) are still good without their two big offensive players. If we can stay in the right mindset, be confident and pull off some really big plays, we can upset them.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more