California Governor Signs Bill Limiting Police Use Of Deadly Force

Under the new law, California officers must only use deadly force when "necessary."

Sacramento, CA – California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed off on a bill that will require law enforcement officers to only use deadly force when “necessary,” and prohibits officers from shooting fleeing suspects unless they pose an immediate danger.

Under the previous law, officers’ use of deadly force had to be “reasonable," Assembly Bill 392 read.

“I’m ready to sign this damn thing!” Newsom declared during the signing ceremony of AB 392 on Monday, flanked by the family members of Stephon Clark and rapper “Willie Bo” McCoy, according to National Public Radio.

"As California goes, so goes the rest of the United States of America," the governor boasted. "And we are doing something today that stretches the boundaries of possibility and sends a message to people all across this country — that they can do more."

Under the new law, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, prosecutors will be able to consider the actions of the suspect and the officers during the time preceding an officer-involved shooting, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Previously, prosecutors were only able to consider the moment that deadly force was used, and whether or not it was reasonable to believe that the officer felt the suspect was endangering the lives of the officer or bystanders.

“This is remarkable to get to this moment on a bill that was so controversial but it means nothing unless we make this moment meaningful,” Newsom told the paper after he signed the bill. “And so that is the goal and the desire of all of us, law enforcement and members of the community, to address these issues in a more systemic way and that’s going to take a lot more work than passing a piece of legislation.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who co-authored the legislation, said that the new law will help boost the public’s level of trust with regards to law enforcement officers, National Public Radio reported.

"Significant change is never easy, but those who voted today looked to their conscience and found the courage to do the right thing for California," Weber said when the bill was passed by the state legislature in July. "I have to thank the families who have lost loved ones to police violence. They have been the energy and the moral compass for making this possible."

On Monday, Weber declared that the new law “will make a difference around the world,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

“For 400 years, people of color have often had a different kind of justice than others in this nation,” she added, according to the Los Angeles Times. “And after 400 years of demonstrating our commitment and our humanity to this nation, we deserve fairness and justice.”

Clark was fatally shot by Sacramento police in 2018, after he smashed out multiple car windows and shattered the sliding glass door of an occupied home, according to the Sacramento Bee.

A police helicopter and officers on the ground spotted him in a back yard, but he took off running with an object in his hands that officers said they believed was a gun.

During the foot pursuit, Clark turned in a shooting stance and advanced towards officers with the object extended towards them.

He was just 16 feet away from police when they opened fire.

Officers subsequently learned that the object Clark was holding was a cell phone.

Clark was wanted for domestic violence and violation of his probation at the time of the confrontation.

He also had alcohol, Xanax, codeine, hydrocodone, marijuana, and cocaine metabolite in his blood, and had been searching the internet for ways to commit suicide.

In February, Vallejo officers were called to a Taco Bell restaurant for a report of an unresponsive man sitting in a vehicle in the drive-thru, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The man, later identified as McCoy, had a gun sitting on his lap when officers arrived, and his vehicle was still in drive, bodycam footage showed.

The officers tried to remove the weapon from McCoy’s lap without disturbing him, but discovered that the car doors were locked.

McCoy suddenly began to move, and reached his right arm up to his left shoulder, bodycam footage showed.

Officers then ordered him to show his hands, but McCoy bent forward at the waist and reached for the weapon, police said.

That’s when the officers opened fire through the windows of the suspect’s vehicle.

Six officers discharged their weapons, firing an unknown number of rounds during the four seconds that followed, according to The Guardian.

The officers pulled McCoy out of the vehicle and began delivering lifesaving aid, but he died at the scene.

Police later confirmed that the .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun in McCoy’s lap was fully operational, and that it had been reported as stolen in Oregon, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“I would be honored if you would join us up onstage,” Newsom told Clark and McCoy’s family members just before he signed the measure into law on Monday, according to National Public Radio.

"The reality is, officers rarely face consequences, and families like mine are left to wonder who is policing the police," McCoy’s brother, Kori, later told the news outlet.

He said that the new law “offers a ray of solace” for his family.

“[We] hope that it will spare other families from bearing this burden with us,” Kori added, according to National Public Radio.

Shortly after the fatal shooting, McCoy’s cousin, David Harrison, alleged that Vallejo police “profiled” and “targeted” McCoy, KGO reported.

“No one trusts the police in Vallejo,” he told The Guardian at the time. “We are being targeted...Police have a campaign of executing young black men who fit a certain profile. Willie dressed the part. He represents hip-hop music. They are profiled.”

Harrison also posted a video to Facebook after the shooting, warning children in the neighborhood about the danger of law enforcement officers.

“Police is not your f--king friend,” he said in the video. “They’re not there to serve and protect. They here to control and patrol, man. They wanna control you.”

“It’s going to continue to happen until we make these mother--kers pay!” Harrison continued. “They gotta pay for this s--t. This s--t ain’t free. Can’t just keep killin’ us in the street like this.”

“We at war,” he declared. “It’s these mother--kin' pigs is your f--kin' enemy!”

Clark’s brother, Stevante, said the new law should be tougher on law enforcement officers.

“The bill is watered down, everybody knows that,” Stevante told the Los Angeles Times. “But at least we are getting something done. At least we are having the conversation now.”

“This is Stephon Clark’s law,” said Stevante declared. “The cost, the price that had to be paid for this, it hurts…I hate that this had to come out of such a tragic situation, but at the same time, it helps the healing process to know his name could possibly prevent something like this from happening again.”

The original version of the bill was strongly opposed by law enforcement groups because it would have made prosecution possible if it were determined that there were other options available, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Originally, AB 392 called for officers to verbally persuade offenders to surrender or utilize crisis intervention skills or other de-escalation techniques instead of using deadly force.

The largest groups representing California law enforcement removed their objections to the legislation after the latest round of amendments, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We will not support the bill, as it is far from perfect, but the amendments have addressed our biggest fears,” Ron Hernandez, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, said in a statement.

Six major law enforcement groups, including California Highway Patrol, Peace Officers Research Association of California, and California State Sheriffs’ Association, all removed their objections and took a “neutral” position on AB 392 following the latest changes to the bill, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The heart of the dispute over the legislation centered on changing the word “reasonable” to “necessary” when describing the standards required for an officer to use deadly force with a suspect.

The substantially-changed legislation kept the word “necessary” but dropped the definition of the word, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The deleted language said officers could only shoot when there was “no reasonable alternative,” according to the Associated Press.

The language requiring an officer to try to de-escalate an incident by exhausting all non-lethal alternatives before turning to a deadly use-of-force was also stripped out of the bill.

Instead, the revised legislation makes clear that officers are not required to retreat or back down when a suspect resists, nor do they lose their right to self-defense if they use “objectively reasonable force,” the Associated Press reported.

"It's one thing to sign a piece of paper, pass legislation," Newsom said of the bill, according to KSWB. "It's another to change hearts and minds, to change culture. To change the way people conduct themselves, to hold themselves to a higher standard.”

“That's the work that we, collectively as a community, need to manifest at peril of missing this moment and missing the point of this moment,” the governor added.

California Association of Highway Patrolmen President Rick LaBeske and other law enforcement groups urged the legislature to also pass SB 230, which would provide law enforcement agencies with training related to SB392, The Sacramento Bee reported.

“With the passage of the AB 392 and SB 230 legislative package, California will go further than any other state in the country to provide our officers with the tools and training they have requested and deserve,” LaBeske said. “This legislative package will serve as an example for other states to follow when updating their own use of force policies.”

Comments (132)
No. 1-50
flybynight
flybynight

Man oh man. HCD/Boogers gonna be all about this. Might even move to Cali if they don't already live there.🙏

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

The war on law enforcement, who put their lives on the line every day, continues from the Left. God bless the Peacemakers; at least He has their backs.

BerettaAPX
BerettaAPX

Black criminal thug martyrs inspire communist governor to endanger not only the police but all law abiding citizens. Law enforcement officers....leave California NOW. You now have zero protection . It will be deemed unnecessary anytime you shoot a black thug criminal and YOU will go to jail.

BerettaAPX
BerettaAPX

Example: a thug Rob's a store with a realistic airsoft replica. Then points that same exact copy of a real gun at the responding officer and gets killed. The left will say that the killing wasn't necessary because the gun was not real....off to the gulag for the officer.

BerettaAPX
BerettaAPX

So blacks WANT criminals living among them? To them bring killed robbed raped and attacked by other blacks is fine, expected and normal. I say leave em the hell alone and let them police themselves.

beyondpissedoff
beyondpissedoff

So, the LEO's show up at a report of someone breaking out windows in the hood. "Excuse us sir, could you please stop. That's right, and run away down the street, we won't bother you." Show up at a report of someone unresponsive in a drive thru. "We're going to have to close down the drive thru, don't want to violate anyone's rights." SMH

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

Another law being passed by law makers who live with their heads in the clouds. Until it happens to them it does not matter because their lives aren’t affected. God forbid, one of these people who they want to pretend they care about, will do something to a close family member or friend, and then they will realize what a ridiculous law it is. And then they’ll blame the police as always. Let the police do their jobs.

apd1971
apd1971

If they don't want to surrender get in your car and leave.With the people making the choice of weather it was necessary to shoot or not you will go to prison.

BerettaAPX
BerettaAPX

Does Stephons law also legalize domestic violence, drug possession, burglary and evading arrest...because St. Stephons was very fond of breaking those laws.

Theendisnear
Theendisnear

Ridiculous!!!

OldVet
OldVet

"As goes California, so goes the rest of the United States" is something many have fought and so far won for years. Lucky we all don't have the problems California has with homeless and illegals. Sanctuary cities where one has to avoid human waste on the streets. Don't forget San Francisco lost a major convention do to how great a job the liberals have done in that town.

Excalibr4
Excalibr4

California is 6.5% black, but look how many blacks are surrounding that Governor in the picture! The crazy part is blacks in the Bay area have 4 times the arrest record of whites, even though they are only one 20th the population! I didn't realize California, with such a low black population still endured a super high crime rate from that sector of the population! Why can't they behave like the rest of us? Based on what I am reading here it's because we are enabling their criminal lifestyle. Instead of cracking down on crime, we are letting the inmates run the asylum!

Garysco
Garysco

Remember the faces and names. They will be the first complainers when California is policed by uniformed Beavis & Butthead second rate mall cops. No one else will even ask for the job.

Comsense01
Comsense01

Way to go California first you disarm the Law abiding citizen's an now your going after the police that put there life on the line to protect the citizens that cannot protect themselves anymore. California wants to set a example to show that gun are the problem an not the criminals that have them. I say abandon ship and leave California!

Ethananddrewsnana
Ethananddrewsnana

Governor Newsome, your a brain dead idiot. I'll be so glad when they impeach you. Petitions already out, and I signed. Your not smart enough for that job.

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

From deep within, I believe LEO should "Just Walk Away". Circumstances, risk, threats and the legal framework that protects you and our communities is just getting worse. You cannot and will not fix it. Ask yourself the tough questions. Hiring is strong in most job categories across the Country - and in most other States the cost of living is lower. You might have to give up the dream of being a LEO - but these tatter-heads took that from you and it will just get worse. Do you want a political fight for the rest of your life - or a life for your family?

LEO0301
LEO0301

We all know how well democrats have managed their states and California leads the way. If you go for a walk in California you have to step over the bodies of the homeless and make sure you don't step on a used syringe. Good job, Newsome!

When I hear how cops are indiscriminately killing young black men I immediately go to a reputable source and guess what, it's not true. Yet people like Newsome and other politicians throw that out there because they are never challenged. They fail to realize that black crime is much higher than white crime and sadly they turn these criminals into victims. I can't imagine this won't have a ripple effect that will hurt recruiting efforts for most police departments.

gallowayg
gallowayg

STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

Today, California legislators introduced a new bill called the “Pretty Please” law. All law enforcement officers are now required to say “pretty please” whenever they issue a command to suspects. Officers not using those words are subject to prosecution.

We9erfam
We9erfam

The Calif. Gov. Is nothing more then a idiot in my opinion this is ridiculous

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

"During the foot pursuit, Clark turned in a shooting stance and advanced towards officers with the object extended towards them."

This isn't true. He was holding his smart phone the way that people normally hold smart phones. He was not in any kind of a "shooting stance" and he was not extending the phone toward the officers in the manner that one typically extends a handgun toward a target.

Anyway, this should cut down on trigger-happiness in CA. It will clear out some of the overly violent officers and make way for more reasonable women and men to don the blue uniform (and hat!) and keep California safe.

gfc1963
gfc1963

Clark and McCoy got everything they deserved and STILL people think they were the victms??!! Fuck them.

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

I counted ~20 blacks in this staged photo (of ~36 total) yet Cali is only 6.5% black (literally half of the overall US black population ). So who among all Cali residents do you think this legislature is geared towards?

sizzle937
sizzle937

Between this law and the one in NYC no one will want to be s cop. Cops will be killed because of these stupid ass rules

Flynguy
Flynguy

Fuck yeah man! One GIANT step closer to all cops throwing their badges into the streets and proclaiming; You’re on your own now bitches! I can’t wait. Then we can exterminate the fucking verminous pieces of shit that plague humanity in the USA. Calling ALL LEO’s. #Trash the Badge!!

Stanracer
Stanracer

Politicians are more concerned about the families of scumbag criminals that were killed by the police, than they are for the families of police officers killed by the drugged up criminals. The system is truly f..ked up.

Dra71
Dra71

i think all other states invite CA officers a job and except there traning. get law officers out of CA

Musicray
Musicray

This guy is such an A-Hole!! He doesn’t care.... he’s just pandering to them to get their vote... he looks like a self Righteous narcissistic television preacher...

magnumforc
magnumforc

Look at all the losers in the photo heading this post. Kind of figures don't it?

LanetaJane16
LanetaJane16

The insanity of this governor has hit an all time high...does he not realize that many if not most decisions that cops make are not done in a conference room but in a situation that requires split second decision...so governor if you and your family are being assaulted by thugs, a cop arrives and then does nothing because of your new order, how would you feel. The cop has to make a fast decision based on your foolish law. Get real...and get into the life of reality, not politics.

NickyJ
NickyJ

California has gone straight to hell. So glad we got out of that state of confusion.

Bulldog
Bulldog

LEO'S need a mass Exodus out of California before they're buried Six Feet Under! This law does nothing but Pander to the criminals and puts all of the citizens as well as all officers lives at risk. Commiefornia is beyond a cesspool of liberal idiots out to turn their state into a full blown lawless society which is why all LEO'S need to leave before the shit hits the fan!

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

It's as if the liberals think all police officers run around like wild-eyed Barney Fifes, waving their guns in the air and indiscriminately fire their guns at people. Police officers don't wake up thinking "Who can I shoot today?". No, they wake up, thinking "I hope I wake up tomorrow in bed." and "I hope I don't have to shoot anyone today."

Shastabeau
Shastabeau

Don't want bad interactions with LE? Don't put yourself in that position!

usac95
usac95

Under the new law, California officers must only use deadly force when "necessary." Sissy boy Newsom BS It necessary any time you have scum being detained shoot first ask questions later and you might go home that night screw the scum

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

Build the wall!!!! On the Nevada border.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Rashida Tlaib, US Representative from Detroit, posts vulgar & uninformed rant against Detroit Police Department tactics

Shastabeau
Shastabeau

So who the hell's going to deem when it's necessary? Or is it going to rest on the officers body like Singh! Newsom pandering. He's running for president, and in the mean time, he'll build his base on the bodies of our LE!

Anomie88
Anomie88

Police only use deadly force when necessary: Well, no shit. That's what all police regulations say there Einstein. What a feeble-minded attempt to get the vote of all criminals. Californians needs to have a evolution of the mind and conscience and rid the state of their communist demagogues.

DeputyDawg
DeputyDawg

I have a new shooting policy. 1) In defense of myself, 2) in defense of my family, and 3) in defense of a police officer. The rest of you are on your own.

DeputyDawg
DeputyDawg

A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be shot by a black man, than a police officer shooting an unarmed black man.

Bstn
Bstn

Im curious...Clark & McCoy senerios under old Use of Force policy's ended up shot by police....Clark & McCoy scenerios under this new Use of Force law...Betting same outcome. Both perps actions caused them to get shot, nothing changes. When do we start holding the suspects & their actions accountable for their fates?

Dixiedamit
Dixiedamit

Police Officers face consequences every flippin day putting up with gang trash, domestic violence calls,theft, and just plain old bullshit on the street. But let them try to protect someone or something and fire a gun and all hell breaks loose on them ! I wish for one day all police officers would just say to hell with y'all and not answer any calls. Let there be a free for all on the streets and in the cities. See who cries for help first....the Governors,Mayors and elected officials don't give a crap about law enforcement....let them go out on the streets and try to calm their constituents. Yeah,they're all good people,they won't hurt nobody. God bless the blue and Everything you do...

killer93
killer93

Boo hoo, same old story. If you can't do the time, dont do the fucken crime.i bet you wont get shot.

shooter
shooter

Please...tell me...what sane person would want to be a police officer in California after this BS?

Ever watching
Ever watching

Fuck em! Let them kill each other!

IronPig
IronPig

California has become a haven for criminals with recent new legislation. Hard drugs reduces to misdemeanors, theft cases with high dollar amounts to qualify for felonies, etc, etc, etc. This new law by super liberal, criminal friendly Gavin Newsome, has been misreported. The word "necessary" actually never made it into the amended version of the Bill. PORAC fought to keep it out as that word would have made law enforcement impossible in CA. Here is an excerpt from PORAC and the new use of force standard:

The amended version of the bill states that an officer can use deadly force: “only when the officer reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, that such force is necessary for either of the following reasons – (c)(1)”:

• “To defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person.” (c)(1)(A)

• “To apprehend a fleeing person for any felony that threatened or resulted in death or serious bodily injury, if the officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or serious bodily injury to another unless immediately apprehended" (c)(1)(B)

The language above is consistent with current case law. It will now be codified in California law. AB 392 will not significantly impact the way law enforcement performs their daily jobs as the bill still retains the “reasonableness” standard set forth in the Supreme Court’s 1989 Graham v. Connor ruling.

JPF94
JPF94

this is what happens when you elect people who feel they know more then others. Are mistakes made by police, yup, but to say the guy with the gun in his car in his lap was murdered by police is a joke. For the governor to invite that family to the stage is insulting. If I were an officer in California I would answer my radio calls only, and stop all officer initiated activity, do as little as possible during this period of unreasonable hindsight revisionist review of police activity.

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

DECENT PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA: Get out now.......run, don't turn back for anything..........run for your lives.