Should Misbehaving Cops Be Shielded From Public Scrutiny?

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police-public-records-californiaChris Thornock for L.A. Weekly

Mark Arner didn’t know what he was getting into. A veteran reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune, he was working the police beat when an editor told him to check out a case at the county Civil Service Commission.

“It wasn’t something I covered normally,” he says. “We stumbled across it.”

The case involved a rape allegation against Antonio Lee Smith, a Sheriff’s deputy. Smith had been called out on an assault case. The suspect, a 37-year-old woman, was drunk. She later told authorities Smith forced her to have sex and that she was too drunk to stop him.

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