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Police Personnel Files Subject to Protective Order

Police Personnel Files Subject to Protective Order

George Macias sued the City of Clovis, CA and several officers alleging unlawful arrest and excessive force. Macias claimed that during his arrest for traffic crimes, he was aggressively thrown into the back seat of the patrol car which left him in an uncomfortable position and he repositioned his hands from behind his back over his feet and onto his lap. The officers noticed this and, according to Macias, he was punched, choked, and tasered.

In his lawsuit, Macias sought three categories of documents: 1) personnel records and internal/external investigations; 2) policies and procedures adopted at the time of Macia’s arrest, and 3) training materials in use at the time of the arrest. The City agreed to produce the documents so long as Macias would stipulate to a protective order. Macias refused the stipulation and the Court found that a protective order was appropriate.

The Court stated that “when ordering disclosure of personal and private officer information, federal courts recognize a right of privacy respecting confidential law enforcement records.” If an individual’s privacy is at stake, courts balance the need for the information against the privacy right of the officers. Here there is no question that Macias needs the information for his case but the information sought should be subject to a protective order because of the privacy concerns of the officers involved.

Macias v. City of Clovis, 2015 WL 7383841 (E.D. Cal. 2015)

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