Press Coverage Highlights HSRD’s Victory in Retaliatory Lawsuit Against Journalist Ben Camacho

On May 24, 2023, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff denied the City of Los Angeles’ request for an order requiring journalist Ben Camacho to return a flash drive of the photos, names, and badge numbers of over 9,000 Los Angeles Police Department officers, as well as any physical or digital copies of the records. The City voluntarily gave Mr. Camacho this flash drive in the settlement of his California Public Records Act lawsuit. Months later, the City now alleges that the flash drive contains photos of undercover officers. Judge Beckloff denied the request stating that the City failed to produce any admissible evidence supporting their arguments, including whether the flash drive even contains photos of undercover officers. In addition, Judge Beckloff also cast doubt on whether the City was allowed to claw back digital copies of the records.

The denial of the City’s baseless request is the most recent development in the City’s meritless and retaliatory lawsuit against Mr. Camacho to suppress his First Amendment rights as well as access to public records. Quoted by KFI, HSRD partner Dan Stormer called the City's lawsuit a "thinly veiled attempt to silence Mr. Camacho and other journalists.” "The real motives behind this lawsuit are to shield the Los Angeles Police Department from any measure of accountability and transparency," Stormer said.

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