Thursday, October 28, 2021

California legislates to strip badges from officers who have committed criminal or partisan acts

Sacramento, Calif. (AP) — California has joined the vast majority of states in establishing a way to remove the badges of police officers who act criminally or with prejudice, a change that was one of several criminal justice reforms, Which was signed into law by the government on Thursday. Gavin Newsom.

The nation’s most populous state was Hawaii, along with New Jersey and Rhode Island, one of just four without such a statewide system. California’s reforms would also limit the use of rubber bullets during protests, preventing a type of restraint holding that has resulted in death and extension when an officer has a duty to intervene to prevent or report excessive force. it happens.

Newsom’s fellow Democrat Attorney General Rob Bonta, who backed the bills, said, “We are in a crisis of confidence when it comes to enforcing the law across the state, across the country.” “We are providing a concrete solution by banning dangerous holds that lead to asphyxiation to many other mechanisms that improve accountability and oversight and transparency.”

Officers can now lose their certification for serious misconduct, including excessive use of force, sexual assault, intimidation of witnesses, making false arrests or reports, or participating in a law enforcement gang. Other grounds include “exhibiting prejudice” based on race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or mental disability, among other criteria.

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Newsom signed the law during a sometimes emotional incident at a Los Angeles County park where Kenneth Ross Jr., a 25-year-old black man, was murdered in 2018. The officer who shot him was cleared of wrongdoing, but was previously involved. Three others in the shootout.

“Say his name,” supporters chanted softly as Newsom signed the bills and Ross’s mother, Fauzia Almaro, talked about her current pain and suffering, as well as her hope that the new laws would be another Black End. Brown will prevent the deaths.

Angelo Quinto’s mother, Sandra Quinto Collins, burst into tears, and other family members described how a San Francisco Bay Area official tried to kneel on her neck during a mental health crisis just before Christmas last year. Later he had died. A new law would prohibit this type of face-down hold known as positional asphyxia.

Newsom also signed off on a measure setting statewide standards for when officers can use “kinetic projectiles” such as rubber bullets and chemical agents or tear gas to break up peaceful demonstrations. Police are also prohibited from aiming rubber bullets, beanbags and foam rounds at anyone’s head, neck or other vital areas.

Some peaceful protestors were injured by rubber bullets and other projectiles during the 2020 racial justice protest.

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The new law also requires training officers to use less-lethal weapons when there is a danger of death or serious injury, or “to bring a purposefully dangerous and unlawful situation under control safely and effectively.” ” Officials will have to give verbal warnings and try other de-escalation tactics first.

Police groups opposed the measure, arguing that less-than-lethal means are needed to stop the violence and are often better than the alternative.

18 years later, lawmakers took away that power from the State Police Standards Commission, 18 years after a law allowing decertification of poor officers came.

This left it to local agencies to decide whether officers should be fired, but critics said they could often find jobs in a different department.

The law would create a mandatory new state license, or certification, that could be revoked permanently. Democratic State Sen. Steven Bradford said allowing de-certification would end “the wash, rinse, repeat cycle” of police misconduct.

“At times it is said that Black and Brown people hate the police,” said Bradford, who is Black. “We don’t hate the police. We are afraid of the police. We are afraid of the police because of our lack of trust.”

His new law was inspired by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman last year, yet the law stalled at the end of last year’s session, as did the rubber bullets bill.

It struggled to gain support in the Assembly this year until Bradford agreed to allow the suspension of licenses as a lesser punishment and increased other safeguards.

Unions representing executives in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose declared victory with those changes in a bill they said would originally have allowed executives’ careers to end “as a jaywalking ticket.” for infringement.”

Law enforcement organizations and Republican lawmakers protested that the bill was still biased because only two of the nine members of a new disciplinary board would represent the police, while the remaining seven would have professional or personal backgrounds related to police accountability.

Supporters, including Bradford, said it was not against the officers because the 18-member Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training is made up mostly of law enforcement professionals and would make the final decision.

Abdul Prijen, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, and Brian Marvel, president of the Peace Officers Research Association of California, both said they expect what they say will continue to work out loopholes and ambiguity in the bill, while supporting the overall goal. .

“We cannot allow officers to continue to be members of the law enforcement profession who demonstrate gross misconduct; Their licenses should be revoked,” Marvel said.

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