California attorney general failed to track some police shootings

Body-worn cameras have become a part of many investigations of shootings by police officers.
  • The attorney general got reports of 17 cases it didn’t investigate and had no record of.
  • Following CalMatters’ investigation, the attorney general’s office said it will begin tracking all the shooting reports it receives.

A law passed in 2020 compels the state Justice Department to investigate all incidents in which a police officer shoots and kills someone who is unarmed.

But the department isn’t investigating all of the incidents law enforcement agencies are referring to it. In at least 17 cases to date, including two from Riverside County and four from San Bernardino County, the state has opted not to investigate.

The exact number and details about those cases are a bit of a mystery, CalMatters has learned. The Justice Department said it had not been tracking each report it received and could readily provide details only for cases in which its agents visited the scene or opened an investigation or reports. After CalMatters began raising questions in November, the department managed to track down some information on the 17 rejected cases, and acknowledged there were more.

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