City demands $3,000 from mother who wants records after cops kill her son

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/13/city-demands-3000-from-mothe.html

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Anyone remember the days when they used to tell us computers would reduce clerical time and paperwork, making record keeping less expensive?

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Possibility 1)
Anaheim Police Department produces requested documents, free of charge.

Possibility 2)
Los Angeles Times pays the $3000 fee, and publishes entire file in the Sunday Edition of their paper.

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“Wayne, I’ll take Door #2…”

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They just got $150k and they can’t find $3k? And these records weren’t exposed in discovery from the lawsuit?

The killing happened ten years ago, even if it was only now a new law made it possible to get the videos. It’s not surprising if the money from the settlement are gone by now, and as it was a settlement I suspect the police released and admitted as little as possible. They pay to make people shut up, it’s tax payers money anyway.

Maybe she could ask Peter Thiel. He is known to finance lawsuits :slight_smile:

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Honestly, asking them to dip into the settlement they got for the killing to pay for records related to the killing is just as perverse as asking them to do so without the settlement. $150k does not mean you are set for life or super rich.

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Ah, but only part of the fee covers administrative costs - the rest is a “discouragement fee.”

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This is just such a willfully obtuse clusterfuck. The law is clear, they made up their excuse whole cloth and anyone not willing to do their job and provide the records should be fired. and what else are taxes for. I mean I’m a reasonable person and I can imagine logistical issues coming up once in a while but the exception is no excuse for swallowing a rule.

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Let’s hope the discouragement ends there. Retaliation for raising awareness of these shooting cases can get much worse.


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Yeah, I’m not sure what complying with the law, “but… not at the taxpayer’s expense” is even supposed to mean. If the law says a public body has to supply records, and doesn’t say that they may charge a fee for that or what the fee is, then they can’t charge a fee. The public gets to do things unless a law says they can’t. The government and it’s arms (including the police) get to do things only if the law says they can.

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If I remember right, the CA public records law (which this is an adjunct of) allows for the direct costs of making the records available. I’m pretty sure that arbitrary fees aren’t permissible. So, if we figure $30/hr. for a clerk’s time would represent 100 hours, which is ridiculous, even if I am off in how much clerks make in Alameda.

FFS guys; The Ministry of Information Retrieval had the decency to issue Mrs. Buttle a refund when they realized that Tuttle should have had £31.06, debited against his account, not Buttle.

Never come out looking shabbier than the Ministry of Information Retrieval, seriously.

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…such as Anaheim, are complying with the new law, but they want to make sure that it’s not at the taxpayer’s expense.

Maybe if Anaheim is worried about the taxpayers, they should start with the low-hanging fruit like training the cops not to shoot unarmed people. That would have saved the taxpayers $150k (and also a human life).

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others, such as Anaheim, are complying with the new law

I don’t think that word means what the author of the linked article thinks it means.

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In institutional contexts, public and private sector, ‘complying’ has the unpleasant habit of taking on that specific lawful-neutral-with-chilly-cast connotation. If they overdo it hard enough to end up losing more at litigation than they gained by not cooperating more fully then it’s a failed compliance operation; but as long as they can avoid that it’s just compliance.

Much as it’s considered poor taste to openly acknowledge that HR isn’t your pal, it’s uncouth to put it so bluntly when compliance specialists are making pious compliance noises; but it’s still about avoiding punishment with least interference in what you want to do, not upholding some noble spirit of the law.

It costs a lot of money for a data recovery specialist to get those deleted files back.

I’d like to see an itemized list of costs for that fee.

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