A legal precedent was set Friday night regarding the release of police records created in California before Jan. 1, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California said.
ACLU senior staff attorney Kathleen Guneratne said an appeals court in California ruled that six Contra Costa County agencies must release police conduct records created before the start of the year, if requested.
Those six agencies had sued to block the release of records created before Jan. 1 when Senate Bill 1421, a police transparency law, went into effect.
The San Francisco Police Officers' Association also mounted a legal challenge to the new law.
Absent a ruling by the California Supreme Court, the ruling Friday night is final, Guneratne said.
"In our opinion, we welcome it because it really answers a call we have raised for clarity for other trial courts across the state," Guneratne said.
The appeals court ruling follows a decision earlier in the day requiring San Francisco police to release records created before Jan. 1.
Sometime earlier in the day, the San Francisco Police Officers' Association, the union representing officers, withdrew its legal challenge in the case.
"After consultation with our legal counsel, the San Francisco Police Officers' Association has dismissed its Superior Court action regarding the retroactive implementation of SB 1421," the union said in a statement.
The union's concern, it said, was only to protect the privacy rights of its officers, which is being addressed in a different case.
Union officials said they believe all police agencies need to comply with eligible requests for records.
Guneratne said the public has a right to know about police misconduct and police officers want the public to trust them, which the new law may foster.