BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California and activist group Faith in the Valley have filed to join in the California Attorney General’s lawsuit against the Bakersfield Police Department.
That lawsuit claims the department engaged in excessive force and other violations over the past four years. It was settled with a multi-year plan on BPD’s part to revise its use of force under a variety of circumstances.
The ACLU and Faith in the Valley say local involvement is needed to hold BPD accountable.
“Currently, the only parties calling the shots in this case are government entities,” Stephanie Padilla, staff attorney in the ACLU SoCal’s Kern County office, said in a release. “Our intervention would give community members a seat at the table and enable us to ensure that the Bakersfield Police Department changes its policies and practices in a way that is actually meaningful to the community.”
The department issued the following response:
“The Bakersfield City Attorney’s Office is reviewing the ACLU’s legal filing, the advocacy group’s latest attempt to generate publicity and undermine the good faith Agreement with the California Department of Justice. We will not let the ACLU’s campaign based on misinformation and out-of-context data distract us from our mission of professionally serving and protecting the Bakersfield community with respect, compassion and accountability.”
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office’s entered into a similar settlement with the attorney general last year mandating the department publicize every officer-involved shooting and requiring supervisors investigate uses of force.