Proposed Law Says Suspects With Imitation Weapons Can't Be Shot By Police

SnarkyCop

A new law proposed in California would change the standards for when force could be used.

Sacramento, CA - Following the recent justified shooting of Stephon Clark, California lawmakers are moving to make it easy to prosecute officers who shoot suspects.

I previously covered why the Stephon Clark shooting is justified, and why officials who say otherwise are lying about it.

Lawmakers in California are well-aware that the shooting was legally justified, and the only way to change that fact is to change the law itself, so that's what they are doing.

Currently, federal use of force is governed by federal case law. The case law allows officers to use deadly force if, considering the facts and circumstances presented to them at the time, and considering the officer's training and experience, they believe that a suspect is posing a deadly threat.

Individual states may establish their own laws which are more strict than federal law on police use of deadly force.

I am not aware of any state which actually has a more strict standard than the federal standard. Some law enforcement agencies have set more strict policies, but the outcome of violating those policies generally means that an officer could be fired. By changing a state law, it could send officers to prison.

California wants to change their legal standard from the “reasonable force” rule to “necessary force,” according to the Associated Press.

They define "necessary force" as force used when “there were no other reasonable alternatives to the use of deadly force.”

This initially seems close to the old standard, as they both require reasonableness. However, it does not allow for the officers to use force based on how circumstances appear to them at the time. Instead, it allows the officer to be judged in hindsight if the force was actually necessary.

For example, if a suspect pulls a pellet gun on an officer, they are not actually presenting a deadly threat. The officer would have no reasonable way to know that the gun isn't a lethal firearm, but under the new law, they could be charged if they shoot that suspect.

This law would also appear to apply if somebody pulled an unloaded gun on an officer, or drew a malfunctioning gun. In these circumstance, unbeknownst to the officer, the suspect is not actually presenting a deadly threat. If the officer reasonably responds by shooting that person, they could be criminally charged.

This is why the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, "The 'reasonableness' of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight."

The proposed change to California law would also open the door for second-guessing officers' decisions when they are actually presented with a deadly threat. If, in hindsight, it's determined that retreating was an option, or "de-escalating" a gunfight, then an officer could be charged.

If these changes are allowed, then it would be near-impossible for an officer to use deadly force and know at that time if it's justified.

Do you think that it's possible for officers to reasonably work while knowing that any use of force will be judged in hindsight, based on factors unknown to them at the time? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.

Comments (196)
No. 1-50
bronx163
bronx163

Unenforceable
How is the cop going to know from 15-20 ft away?
Fuck california. Cut it off from the Union. Federalize all national guard air guard bases and retain all military bases. And let these idiot survive on their own.
Love how the navy was run out of puerto rico and locals lost 20 million in revenue from navy personnel first yr they left.

SheepDawg
SheepDawg

Put each of the representatives that want to authorize this lunacy through shoot/don't shoot scenarios where pepperballs are fired at them. Consider each welt a dead or injured LEO. Then go back and judge against this "law" to see how well they did....or how dead they are.

Mpafr012
Mpafr012

If this law passes, every LEO in California should quit and leave California. Law makers are making it harder to be a LEO.

crash972
crash972

That is so FUCKING STUPID.

weaver
weaver

No, you stop writing tickets. Hit them in the wallet, quotas are illegal.

JaDen62
JaDen62

Lordy, Lordy - and at night - how is one supposed to know. Oh - they are supposed to wait to see if they get blown away first while they try to hone in on whatever object is pointed at them. How about a law that tells people IF THEY RUN from a STOP/ SURRENDER order from the police- they are as good as dead! BECAUSE If you run - there is the presumption that you are guilty as heck !!

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

This should be federal law. Go Cali!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

The officers might as well use their handcuffs on themselves, since they won't be able to effectively do their jobs!
I just saw a comment at another website calling this the "Barney Fife's Law"!

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

Keep doing what you're doing guys. Crap, do more............see where that gets you.

BiffCanlett
BiffCanlett

I can't imagine why an officer would be willing to work under these conditions. I love the beauty of California, but I hate the fact that law makers seem to need a proctologist to find their brains. I fear mob rule, anarchy, and a mass exodus of LEOs to other states. I'm not a lawyer, but this seems to make a LEO more vulnerable to prosecution that a regular citizen.l Hey Oregon, looking for a few good men and women ?

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

When there's a mass exodus of Leo's there is no more anarchy. Certainly , no more mob rule. In Cali the biggest unaccountable armed mob of criminals will voluntarily leave. Can we make sure they leave the country?

Tex-Mex gal
Tex-Mex gal

California better wake up. These law makers need to be voted out of office. The dead suspect was no angel. He was a criminal running because he didn't want to get caught. These law makers want to protect criminals instead of our men & women in uniform.

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

And your job is to protect the criminals in blue. Tide is starting to turn huh? Tell you what. Encourage all LEO's to keep doing what they're doing, do more of the same.

Jtking79
Jtking79

By far the dumbest thing on the internet. If you pull a gun on me, fake or not, I'm not going to take the time to determine the authenticity and take the chance on getting killed. If you point what I assume to be a weapon, I will assume your intent is to do me harm and I will respond as so. Stupid.

CWO4USCGCBPORETIRED
CWO4USCGCBPORETIRED

The first time I learned what the Use of Force Continuum is was back in the early 1980s while in the Coast Guard. Simply put it placed the burden on me to decide what level of force that I could use when I encountered someone one attempting to use force against me as a LEO. I was taught that in the most simplest of terms that it meant that I were to use the minimum amount of force necessary to compel compliance. If that meant I said "STOP" and you stopped that was the force necessary to compel compliance. If on the other hand, you had a gun, or what appeared to be deadly force and I ordered you to drop it and you said no and began to point it at me - well shooting you until the threat was no longer a threat is the correct, and legal response.

Moktor
Moktor

Well, when your good LEOs leave the country of Mexi-fornia and leave behind the cops that can't get jobs elsewhere I think you will find that your Socialist state to be quite a bit more dangerous than you first believed.

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

Hey RunCop. Stupid is as stupid does. Keep up the good work. Do more of the same....see what that gets ya. Feel free to run my way anytime you fucking coward

CWO4USCGCBPORETIRED
CWO4USCGCBPORETIRED

I remember reading a few years ago that some gang members, in an attempt to deceive the police tried to paint the barrel ends of their shotguns and long guns bright orange attempting to convince the police they weren't real guns. Fortunately that worked out very badly for the gang bangers! Here's the deal - I'm a retired LEO - I carry a handgun almost always. Its my judgment on the line if I decide the person opposite me is carrying a loaded gun and is trying to do harm. Its my judgment to decide if that person has the means, opportunity, ability, intent, and the willingness to inflict bodily harm to me or someone close to me. If I decide that - well I own my decision and am responsible for the actions I take...

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

Moktor. You're not dungeon master tonight? I guess the other role players will just have to suffer. There are no good LEO's. It only remains to be seen how bad each and everyone is.....I.e. to what degree. Keep up the lords work.........do more of the same

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

Keep filming the cops!

JBo
JBo

Anytime I start reading a story when the word, California, pops up...I know to stop reading, pour a drink, go sit down and hang on for the ride.

Alan Thomas
Alan Thomas

I sure am glad I do not live in California. Those are some of the stupidest lawmakers ever. They are putting restraints on officers and making it harder for them to do their jobs. If you can not tell whether a firearm is real or not, you can not take that chance and should shoot to eliminate the threat. The officer does not have time to run up, check the weapon, determine it is not real. and then proceed from there. The California lawmakers are making it easier for criminals to get away with anything and everything...

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

Thank God Cali always pulls the rest of the country in the correct direction. Always has and always will. I don't expect you to understand. That would require a bit of history, study and experience beyond the town you were born in and never left. Metaphorically, of course........maybe not.

Don carter jr
Don carter jr

All Leo in our prayers but especially now the ones on LEFT coast. Do not let this law cloud your sound judgement. Better you be judged by 12 of your peers than carried by your 6 closest friends. Even if those judges are liberal pansies.

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

No such thing as a "jury of your peers". Prosecutors get rid of all those who can judge right and wrong on their own. The ones that are left are so restricted on what they are allowed to consider that 97% of all cops that are ever put on trial get to go back to that wonderful life of unaccountable crime.

MadMadi
MadMadi

All of these political clowns making these stupid laws need to go ride along with the police (sorry officers) and then go through scenario training to see who they will react to these same circumstances. Until they do that, they should not have any authority to make these irresponsible idiotic laws and proposals. May god help us all in CA...

BobIn704
BobIn704

S once again Cali is in the lead for the fuckfest award! They minds well break off from the US and float away, they are so fucked it not even funny. I say LEO's should just walk off the job and fuck them all for 24 hours and let it be known by the thugs they will be no cops for 24 hours (the Purge sounds about right), nobody to answer our 911 calls, nobody to answer emergencies, etc., then see what they would all think about the laws...or just have the illegals put on the badge for 15 bucks an hour and be the new cops of Cali. LORDY........they are FUCKED!!!

beeChillin
beeChillin

Big Government favors criminals so much because it has so much in common with them.

Dan360
Dan360

These liberal politicians are a joke, they don't seem to be working with a full deck. For those good people of California with common sense who are tired of what nonsense these idiots say and the idiotic laws they want to pass you need to come together and vote for their opponent and instead of listening to what these politicians say, find out what they've done and who their friends are, if you find that they're just as bad then one of you will have to put your hat in the ring. God help us.

Don carter jr
Don carter jr

Liberals are like Christmas lights. They don't always work but the ones that do aren't that bright.

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

The cops are the enforcers for Big Government. Sux when the people who murder, rape and steal for begin to turn on you because the voters keep seeing what you do. Film everything the moment you see a cop!

Don carter jr
Don carter jr

Accually eagle butt Leo are already under constant surveillance with body cams. That's why most of these shootings are found justified

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

In spite of the fact that most of them are either murder or cowardice. Keep up the lords work!!!!!!!!! Do more.....help turn the tide. Maybe you'll go where you belong, eventually.

Don carter jr
Don carter jr

So go ahead get your cameras out grab some popcorn while your at it. Call up some race baiters and video everything you see. Chances are the video will exonerate any officer you record

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

In spite of the fact that they are guilty. Yep, got that right. Keep filming and the tide will keep turning. Cali leads the way!

Susan P
Susan P

If the CA legislature is stupid enough to actually pass this law, every law enforcement officer in the state should simply walk off the job. No one can determine whether a weapon is real or fake BEFORE the real weapon kills them. Passing this law would be a major declaration that POLICE OFFICER'S LIVES DO NOT MATTER, only the criminal who carries a fake gun has a life that matters.

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

Oh, I almost forgot. Keep doing what you're doing........do more.

Susan P
Susan P

You are absolutely correct. I believe most of those proposing such laws would make the WRONG decision when faced with "Shoot or Don't Shoot" training films.
It is really a shame that there is not a "common sense" test one must pass before putting their names on an election ballot.

Eaglescout
Eaglescout

This is really good popcorn.

Don carter jr
Don carter jr

Eagle scat you must think you're brave calling everyone cowards. Its easy being brave on internet hiding behind your cute little name. Truth is Leo are not the bad guy. They're the ones with nanoseconds to respond to life or death situations. We should be more grateful.

Don carter jr
Don carter jr

I prefer movie theater popcorn myself. Gotta do some chores pleasure chatting w yall

justaguy
justaguy

this is bananas

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

When a suspect pulls a weapon, they should immediately give it to the responding officers to see if it a real gun...(.by the way, a pellet gun can kill someone). Check to see that the knife isn't a rubber one, etc.,, then all go back to their respective stances and go at each other. These people who want these laws to go into effect NEED to have a mental test to be sure they are in the upper half of the class. I'm not meaning menses smart, they don't have much sense either. Best scenario is that the police look for other jobs, period. They're damned if they do or don't and will be killed in a greater proportion than they are now. This country has gone to hell. Let's build a wall around California, let the good people move elsewhere and the thugs remain to kill each other off. Only way to deal with it


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