July 9, 2019
Contact: Kris Ockershauser 626-792-0657
Coalition for Increased Civilian Oversight of Pasadena Police/CICOPP/POP
Yesterday the California Senate passed landmark legislation to strengthen the law on police use of force and reduce the number of deadly police shootings in the state.
Assembly Bill 392: The California Act to Save Lives, introduced by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), and co-sponsored by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), will establish a "necessary" use of force standard, paving the way for other states to follow suit.
Police officers in California consistently kill more people than officers in any other state. As in other states, Black and Latinx people and people with disabilities are more likely than other residents to be targets of police violence. AB 392 addresses this problem head on by adopting best practices proven to reduce the number of use of force incidents.
Pasadena resident Vince De Stefano joined an ACLU group of local supporters and was in the Assembly Public Safety Committee meeting where he heard testimony from upwards of a hundred of people whose family members had been killed by police. “It was standing room only for 3 hours and everyone in the room was overwhelmed by the stories of those who lost family members and were calling for change. I think that testimony turned the politicians around to support, and soon after the police organizations dropped their opposition” De Stefano recounted.
Under current law, California police officers can use deadly force if it is "reasonable" — regardless of whether deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury, whether there were available alternatives, or whether the officer's own actions created the circumstances that led to the use of deadly force. AB 392 raises that standard to require that officers only use deadly force when "necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person." California would be the only state to combine this "necessary" standard with the requirement that courts consider an officer's conduct leading up to a use of deadly force when determining whether the officer's actions were justified.
Nineteen Pasadena area clergy members joined the Coalition for Increased Civilian Oversight of Pasadena Police/CICOPP/POP, the ACLU CA, the League of Women Voters of California, the State Office of NAACP, Indivisible and others statewide in the call for a revised standard for deadly use of force by police:
Rev. Larry E. Campbell, Pastor of First AME Church
Rev. John B. Bledsoe, Pastor of Zion Star Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. Tyronne Skinner, Pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church
Rev. Carlton Edwards, Pastor of Pasadena Community Christian Fellowship
Rev. John Stewart, Pastor of New Guiding Light Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. George Van Alstine, Associate Pastor of Altadena Baptist Church
Rev. Deborah West-Jones, Minister at First AME Church
Rev. Nicholas M. Benson, Pastor of First Summit Evangelical Church
Rev. Jacques Bolton, Minister at New Revelation Baptist Church
Rev. Jennifer L. Oliver, Fuller Theological Seminary
Rev. Christopher Frierson, Minister at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Matthew Colwell, Knox Presbyterian Church
Rev. Mike Kinman, All Saints Episcopal Church
Rabbi Marvin Gross, Pasadena Jewish Temple, Social Justice Committee
Bert Newton, Ministry Associate, Pasadena Mennonite Church
Pastor Camille Wooden, Pastor of Abundant Life Covenant Bible Church
Dr. Jill Shook, CEO of Making Housing and Community Happen
Rev. Lissa Gundlach, Neighborhood UU Church
Pastor Beau Wammack, Northland Village Church
Rev. Mark Bradshaw, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church
AB 392 now heads to California Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature.
AB 392 is sponsored by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color/PolicyLink, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), California Families United 4 Justice, PICO California, STOP Coalition, United Domestic Workers (UDW) – AFSCME Local 3930, Youth Justice Coalition