LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs Association cannot stop the Los Angeles Times from publishing information from officers’ background investigation files, a Superior Court judge ruled.
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs sued the Times and its reporter Robert Faturechi on Tuesday, on behalf of its 500 members.
The union claimed that Faturechi “stole” or “received from someone else who stole” 500 background investigation files. The records allegedly include details of officers’ personal, financial and criminal backgrounds, and information about their ex-spouses and family members.
Faturechi has contacted more than 15 officers whose confidential information was in the files, according to the deputies’ lawsuit.
But Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell denied the deputies’ request for an injunction on the day the lawsuit was filed.
Finding that the union failed to show “irreparable harm or immediate danger,” O’Donnell said the allegations were based on “speculative hearsay testimony of anonymous witnesses,” according to a Times report on the ruling.
Attorneys for the newspaper asked O’Donnell to reject the motion on free speech grounds and urged the judge to put aside the union’s concerns about officer safety and privacy rights.
According to the Times Sept. 10 article: “The Times has reported since last October on the department’s hiring of employees who had personal ties to top officials or Sheriff Lee Baca despite histories of violence and brushes with the law.”
The Sheriff’s Department announced a criminal probe into the leak last month.
The union is represented by Elizabeth Gibbons, with Green & Shinee of Encino, the Times by Kelli Sager with Davis Wright Tremaine.
Neither attorney immediately responded to emailed requests for comment.
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