The Anaheim riots have brought to the fore a needed discussion about police use-of-force issues. Here's my column from the weekend on the issue. Many readers here will no doubt disagree with my perspective, but after covering police issues for many years, I've been struck by the degree to which police policy is dominated by union demands rather than broad discussions about public safety.
In California, reports on police shootings are exempt from the California Public Records Act, which means that the public rarely gets more than a glimpse at official reports of what happened. The Peace Officers Procedural Bill of Rights makes it nearly impossible to discipline those officers who misbehave. The state Supreme Court's Copley decision shields disciplinary records of accused officers from the public. It's time to open the records and open the discussion lest we see more events like those in Anaheim and in nearby Fullerton, where officers beat to death an unarmed homeless man.