Obtaining investigative files
Q: I would like to obtain a copy or view a surveillance video that a police department confiscated during the investigation of a fatal-officer involved shooting. The video was shot at a liquor store and should show a man shot by police officers. Do I have any legal support in obtaining or viewing the footage?
A: It is unlikely that the police agency will release, or allow you to see, the surveillance video they have confiscated in connection with their investigation about the fatal shooting. California Government Code section 6254 of the California Public Records Act exempts certain categories of public records from disclosure, including certain law enforcement information.
Specifically, California Government Code 6254(f) exempts from disclosure: “records of complaints to, or investigations conducted by, or records of intelligence information or security procedures of, the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, and any state or local police agency, or any investigatory or security files compiled by any other state or local police agency, or any investigatory or security files compiled by any other state or local agency for correctional, law enforcement, or licensing purposes.”