Police Groups Withdraw Objection To California's Anti-Deadly Force Bill

Law enforcement groups and California Democrats reached a compromise on controversial use-of-force legislation.

Sacramento, CA – Law enforcement groups have dropped their objections to controversial legislation that would give California one of the toughest use-of-force standards in the nation after legislators made some amendments that changed the language of the bill.

Assembly Bill 392, which was introduced as a reaction to the officer-involved shooting of Stephon Clark in Sacramento, makes it easier to prosecute an officer who uses deadly-force, the Associated Press reported.

The original version of the bill, authored by Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, would have made prosecution possible if it were determined that there were other options available, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Weber, the bill’s main author, said that the proposed law change would “clarify law enforcement’s obligations” in order to prevent “unnecessary deaths.”

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, have all removed their objections and taken 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.

AB 392 would still, however, expand the scope of investigations into officer-involved shootings, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Under existing law, only the moment the deadly use-of-force occurs can be considered when determining whether an officer-involved shooting was legal.

However, the new legislation would allow prosecutors to explore the “totality of circumstances” surrounding the shooting, including the actions the police officer took leading up to the use of deadly force, the Los Angeles Times reported.

That means that in some cases, officers might be prosecuted based on their conduct leading up to the shooting.

California Governor Gavin Newsom called the amended legislation “an important bill, one that will help restore community trust in our criminal justice system,” according to the Associated Press.

Black Lives Matter, who sponsored the original legislation, was disappointed in the final version of AB 392, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Los Angeles Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Melina Abdullah said the changes were “problematic for us but not so problematic for us that we are going to be coming off the bill.”

“We still think its important legislation, just not as far-reaching as we hoped it would be,” Abdullah explained.

AB 392 is expected to be passed soon by a vote of the full Assembly, and then it will go to the governor for his signature, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Comments (24)
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Dmos1357
Dmos1357

I'd love to see the legislators (who introduce these bills) go out and show the police how to verbally de-escalate these situations that they seem to feel are so easy to do.

My guess is we'd have a few dead legislators on our hands.

Hmmmmm! Maybe this a better idea than I thought.

robocop95
robocop95

LEO's in Cali it's time to pack up and leave. Take your dedication and talents elsewhere where it will be appreciated.

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

Don’t bring verbal deescalation to a gun fight

trainbuff
trainbuff

When the wall is finally built, it should continue up the country of California who we should cut off all federal aid and funding until they decide to adhere to strict government regulations.

Stanracer
Stanracer

BLM won't be happy til there is no police.

junkmansj
junkmansj

Did not know "black LIES matter" Got to vote on new legislation. "Coming of on this bill"

Marxest
Marxest

Regardless of this bill, lethal use of force against armed suspects or people who pose an immediate threat should not be unimpeded. Their use of force, lethal and non-lethal must not be curtailed or taken away. Police Officers must be allowed to perform their duty. The use of lethal force is a necessary part of an officers duty and he must take responsibility for any shootings he does on duty and off duty. Officers that make the mistake of shooting or killing innocent civilians (no matter the color, sex or ethnicity of the victim or the officer) must be condemned and their actions should not be merely excused or given the benefit of the doubt because they  made a "tragic" mistake when carrying out their duty. If their actions are found to be criminally liable, then those officers must be fully prosecuted without bias, regardless of whether the unjustified shooting was an accident or not. Justified shootings and unjustified shootings must have opposing reactions and consequences. An officer shooting someone is never an accident, and should never be looked at as such.

Wish505
Wish505

LE's in CA need to move and let the liberals have there way and then lets see how long before they cry wolf. The cesspool continues to spread. Another option is if you respond to a shots fired call, call you legislature for back up and do not respond until the idiot gets there to calm things down before you approach the scene.

sanman899
sanman899

Every CA agency I am aware of is having staffing and retention issues. Soon they will be so understaffed it will be a criminal haven like no one has ever seen and a EXTREME danger to the existing officers. CA is destined for self destruct unless there is MAJOR leadership changes.

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

I can't believe that they are OK with this stuff and pulled their objection. Perhaps they are waiting to challenge it in court since the legislature is obviously on the wrong side of law and order in this situation.

tom1961
tom1961

Black Lives Matter sponsored? Since when do racist groups get to sponsor bills? Imagine if the Klan was allowed to sponsor Bills? Oh America, what happened to you?