By Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin
Source: Los Angeles Times
To the editor: Journalism executive Regina Brown Wilson makes a compelling argument for making autopsy records publicly available as a way to hold law enforcement and local government accountable. As the author of Assembly Bill 268, which Wilson opposes, I do not disagree with her.
What she and other opponents of AB 268 fail to note is that the protection of autopsy records from public view would apply only if the deceased was killed in a criminal act and the perpetrators are convicted or dead. Brown mentions the cases of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray and Stephon Clark. In each of these cases, under AB 268, only the families of the victims would be able to request that the autopsy records be sealed, and only then if a criminal conviction were to be secured first. However, their interest is in loud and resounding justice for their loved ones, so they would likely pass on this opportunity.