Police chief drops suit for promise of leaks investigation
CALIFORNIA–Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams dropped a $10 million invasion-of-privacy claim against the city in late September after the city council passed a motion ordering an investigation into who leaked confidential information about Williams to the Los Angeles Times.
In mid-September, the Times reported that the Police Commission was investigating allegations that Williams had accepted free hotel accommodations on five trips to Las Vegas between 1992 and 1994.
After the Times articles were published, Williams filed a $10 million lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy by the city and the police commission. The suit did not name the Times as a defendant.
Flanked by 11 members of City Council in late September, Williams announced he would not pursue the lawsuit. The council members publicly promised to get to the bottom of the leaks and reassured Williams that his personnel file would remain private in the future, according to the Times.
Williams’s announcement came after the city council directed the city attorney to investigate the source of the leaks to the Times. In compliance with the city council’s order, a team of five attorneys and one investigator have begun an investigation into the leaks. The Times reported that preliminary inquiries about the leaks have focused on some police commissioners.
The city attorney’s office has not disclosed whether it will attempt to subpoena reporters. A spokesperson for the city attorney’s office said it was unclear whether the office has the authority under the city charter to subpoena witnesses. In addition, California has a shield law that generally protects reporters who refuse to reveal their sources. (Williams v. City of Los Angeles)