The city’s Police Review Commission spent the majority of its Wednesday night meeting deliberating and amending a declaration stating that none of the commissioners leaked information regarding an in-custody death case to The Daily Californian.
Kayla Moore, a transgender woman with a history of mental health issues, died in police custody last year. Last month, the Daily Cal published the commission’s confidential findings, which showed one instance of improper police procedure, prompting indignation from the police union and an administrative investigation of certain city employees who had access to the information.
On May 28, City Manager Christine Daniel authorized a 45-day period during which police officers would not attend the commission’s interviews or closed hearings.
Wednesday night’s resolution, which was drafted by Acting Chair Alison Bernstein, reinforced the commission’s commitment to confidentiality regarding information they were privy to during the Moore case. By signing the declaration, Bernstein said, the commissioners would be submitting themselves to a possible perjury conviction that could end their professional careers if they were found to be involved in the leak.
“It would put us on record that we were not the ones who did this,” Bernstein said at the meeting. “I believe that if each of us signed this declaration or one similar, it would reinforce our commitment to the process and a deeper commitment than any of the other entities that have access to this information.”
Former commissioner Kiran Shenoy, who announced at the meeting his formal resignation so that he could explore other professional ventures, moved to submit his own declaration separate from the commission’s. His declaration more broadly addressed confidentiality concerns.
“The declaration, I felt, didn’t cover instances in which a commissioner could have given possibly leaked information to a third party, not the Daily Cal, who would in turn give that information to the Daily Cal,” Shenoy said. “So I felt that declaration left a big hole that needed to be covered.”
Commissioner John Cardoza agreed that the declaration should not limit its language to “direct transfers” between the commission and the Daily Cal, although other commissioners disagreed.
Commissioner George Perezvelez said it was important for the commission to explicitly address the leak.
“We wanted to make it specific to this instance to send the message to the community that we were not the ones who divulged this information to the Daily Cal,” Perezvelez said.
Although all commissioners voted in favor of the resolution, Bernstein noted that none of the commissioners were required to sign the declaration.
Other issues discussed during the meeting included the city’s proposed voluntary registry of security cameras. Bernstein expressed efficiency and privacy concerns to the police department, but the commission elected to table the discussion about the security camera database until its next meeting.