by Merle Lustig
California has been among the worst states in the country for regulating police use of deadly force and the number of fatal police shootings. In 2017, California police shot and killed 172 people, including 5 children. In 2018, they shot and killed 115 people.
This month, with the help of many progressive organizations including Bend the Arc, a Jewish Partnership for Justice, Kehilla’s Economic Justice Committee, and Oakland Community Organizations’ Live Free Committee, California became the most progressive state for regulating use of deadly force by law enforcement.
AB 392, the Peace Officers Deadly Force Bill authored by Dr. Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor Newsom. While not a perfect piece of legislation, supporters say it’s a first step in changing the culture of policing in California. Taking effect in January 2020, local law enforcement agencies must revise their use of force policies and train officers accordingly.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the conversation. SB 230, law enforcement’s use of deadly force training bill, is making its way through the legislature and will probably be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and voted on by the full Assembly in August.
Despite having been amended significantly, supporters are working behind the scenes to further amend SB 230 to prevent it from diluting AB 392. ACLA and other backers of AB 392 fear that language added to SB 230 such as “requiring de-escalation only when it is feasible” weakens AB 392 and could undermine its intent.
So, how can you help? Call your Assembly Member and urge them to support additional amendments to SB 230 that prevent undermining AB 392 and protect the citizens of California.