ACLU called the Assembly’s 67 to 0 vote yesterday a “breakthrough” on legislation that, if passed out of the Senate and signed, will give California one of the most stringent use of force standards in the country.
According to ACLU, the bill will update California’s outdated use of force standard to require that police officers avoid using deadly force when there are other options. The bill will also help ensure officers are held accountable when they fail to comply with this new standard.
Changing the use of force standard in California will change the way officers are trained to pursue other, non-deadly, resources or techniques when engaging with the public. In cities like Seattle and San Francisco, with stricter use of force policies, police kill fewer people without any negative impact on law enforcement or community safety.
If passed, California would become the only state to combine a “necessary standard” with the requirement that courts consider an officer’s conduct leading up to a use of deadly force when determining the legality of the officer’s actions.
As the LA Times reported, while some community based advocacy groups retracted their support after a compromise with police to secure passage, other long time community advocates remained in strong support. (see http://www.antipoliceterrorproject.org/california-act-to-save-lives-ab-392 )
Today’s LA Times editorial explains in some detail how by retaining the word “necessary” use of force, even without explicit definition of the word, the bill advances the goal of narrowing police use of deadly force in order to prevent unnecessary death or injury. https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-police-shooting-20190531-story.html
NEXT UP: The bill goes to the Senate where it will go to the Senate Appropriations Committee, headed by our own Senator Anthony Portantino who needs to hear our requests for support for AB 392.