Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Why give mass-shooting conspiracy theorists access to autopsy records?


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.

AB 268 is for families who seek privacy for their deceased loved ones when there is no justice to be found.

The families of the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting victims have only one person to blame, the shooter, and he committed suicide that awful night in Thousand Oaks in 2018. These families won’t get a trial to seek justice; all that is left are grotesque conspiracy theorists online who make hurtful and outrageous claims that victims of mass shootings are “crisis actors” who are in fact alive and living overseas. These families do not wish to see the autopsy records of their loved ones used by provocateurs.

AB 268 simply extends an existing law already offered to family members of child victims who died from a criminal act to victims of all ages. It is narrowly tailored and will allow autopsy reports to remain public record in the vast majority of cases.

Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks)




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