Back when esnl started reporting in California 50 years ago this month, police records were freely available to reporters in their full, unredacted form, leaving to the journalist’s discretion the withholding of critical information.
At three departments we covered, the reports were deposited in in-boxes or files, and the journalist could peruse them at leisure.
Similarly, police disciplinary hearings were, at least in some cities, open to news coverage, so reporters could give thorough coverage of alleged misconduct.
Police incident reports are usually no longer available, and reporters are left dependent on police public relations officers to give a few tidbits.
And police disciplinary actions are never open, and their results are rarely reported — and never in full.
The police and their actions are no longer public, and that should concern us all [and already does if you’re a person of color].
Take it away, John Oliver.
Police Accountability: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
John Oliver discusses the systems in place to investigate and hold police officers accountable for misconduct.