The University of California, Davis must release the names of the campus police involved in the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying of seated, unarmed student protesters, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The ruling was issued by Alameda Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo in response to a lawsuit by the The Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times, and was a reversal on an earlier decision to allow police to redact names from the report. The Times reports the two newspapers sued the UC Board of Regents under the California Public Records Act to compel release of the names.
The campus police officers' union, the Federated University Police Officers Association, argued releasing their names would make them subject to harassment. They were successful in keeping the names secret in report issued earlier this year by a task force headed by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso. That report, as well as several others, were highly critical of the UC Police Department for their handling of student protests and excessive use of force.
Only two names of police officers were included in the Reynoso report, the rest were redacted.
"The court today provided valuable transparency that was missing from the earlier litigation," Thomas Burke, an attorney who represented the newspapers, said Tuesday. "The Reynoso report will now be publicly released without any police censorship."
UC spokesperson Brooke Converse said they were always in favor of releasing the full report, and plan to abide by the court's ruling.
Michael Morguess, the Union's attorney, argued releasing the names were tantamount to releasing a personnel file. But Judge Grillo wrote the officers who were working at the campus demonstration wore name tags and were widely visible to the public.
The campus police union has until July 27 to file for an appeal.
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