Image used by permission of Darrin Bell, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. The death of Trayvon Martin was one of driving motivations behind his amazing work.
Despite our liberal reputation, CA leads the nation in police-involved killings at a rate 37% higher than the national average, due to extremely loose regulations on when police can use lethal force. Between 2005 and 2016, our police officers killed over 1,200 people. In 2017, they killed 162 people, half of whom did not have guns. A recent LAPD report found that one in three instances of use of force by its officers involved someone with mental illness. Shootings also disproportionately impact communities of color, as CA police kill unarmed young black and Latino men at significantly higher rates than they do white men.
This action is actually the tale of two competing CA bills –
- AB-392 “Peace officers: deadly force“, backed by the ACLU, civil-liberties groups, labor unions, and families, CHANGES the standards about when police are allowed to use deadly force from “reasonable” to “necessary“. (APPROVE!)
- SB-230“Law enforcement: use of deadly force” backed by police unions and management, concentrates on improving internal department policies and training, all of which they could do without creating this unnecessary law. (OPPOSE)
Here’s a clip from a officer training video from Kern County in 2006. Although Sheriff Youngblood stated his words were taken out of context, it’s not surprising that Kern County is currently the leader in officer-involved killings. (Sheriff Youngblood retained his seat.)
SB-230“Law enforcement” is on the 4/23 agenda in the Senate Committee on Public Safety, (Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson is a member, along with Sen. Nancy Skinner (Chair), Sen. Moorlach (Vice Chair), Sen. Bradford, Sen. Mitchell, Sen. Morrell, and Sen. Wiener.)
They’ll be meeting at 9:30 Tuesday, so get your calls in on Monday! (If you’re not sure who your senator is, check here.) (AB-392 has been re-referred to the Rules Committee and isn’t on the agenda yet.)