City of Eureka v. Superior CourtAnnotate this Case
In 2012, Eureka Police Sergeant Laird and other officers arrested a minor, after a chase in which the minor “was pushed to the ground, fell to the ground, or just gave up and laid on the ground.” A patrol car’s mobile audio-video recording system produced videos of the arrest. A citizen lodged a complaint regarding the handling of the minor. The Department conducted an investigation. Sergeant Laird was charged with misdemeanor assault by a police officer without lawful necessity and making a false report. After reviewing the evidence, including the arrest video, experts determined Laird did not use excessive force. The prosecution dismissed the charges. In 2013-2014, Greenson wrote articles in local newspapers about the arrest and subsequent litigation. Greenson filed a California Public Records Act (Gov. Code 6250) request seeking disclosure of the arrest video. The city denied the request, citing discretionary exemptions for personnel records and investigative files, Penal Code sections 832.7, 832.8. Greenson then filed a request under Welfare and Institutions Code section 827, which authorizes public disclosure of confidential juvenile records under limited circumstances. The court of appeal affirmed that the arrest video is not a personnel record protected by the statutes. and an order requiring release of the video.