On Tuesday, Assembly Bill 392 was passed 5-2 from the Assembly Public Safety and will move forward after a 3-hour hearing.
The bill was authored by Assemblymembers Dr. Shirly Weber (D-Sand Diego) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) which would allow police to only use deadly force only when it was deemed “necessary” rather than “reasonable”.
The bills author, Assemblywoman Shirly Weber explained the bill is aimed at saving lives and would prevent “unnecessary deaths” by law enforcement. The bills goal is to push officers to rely on de-escalation techniques
“Police officers should never take a life when there are alternatives,” said Weber. “However current law sanctions police deadly force when officers do not face an imminent threat to their life or bodily security and even officers have reasonable alternatives at their disposal to safely address a situation without taking any body’s life.
Under the bill:
This bill would redefine the circumstances under which a homicide by a peace officer is deemed justifiable to include when the killing is in self-defense or the defense of another, consistent with the existing legal standard for self-defense, or when the killing is necessary to prevent the escape of a fleeing felon whose immediate apprehension is necessary to prevent death or serious injury. The bill would additionally bar the use of this defense if the peace officer acted in a criminally negligent manner that caused the death, including if the officer’s criminally negligent actions created the necessity for the use of deadly force.
During the hearing on Tuesday, hundreds of people made public comment in favor of the bill as well as those opposed.
During the Assembly comments, Assemblyman Tyler Diep called for the committee to work out the amendments in the committee and continue to work on the bill rather than moving it forward.
Meanwhile, Assemblyman Tom Lackey issued a statement he would vote against the bill.
“I will vote against AB 392, California cops will die if this bill becomes law. No question,” said Lackey.
Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan stated she had reservations about the bill as written questioning if the bill moved the pendulum too far the other way against law but acknowledged she would support the bill in an effort to have more conversation.
Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks acknowledged the bill created some “uncomfortable truths” that law enforcement kill both brown and black men.
During the hearing, Shane LaVigne, of the California Fraternal Order of Police, explained how the bill creates an “impossible standard” based on situations officers face in any given moment and focuses on the standard being hindsight.
Meanwhile, the California State Sheriffs Association saying the bill would prevent proactive policing.
Shortly after the bill passed out of committee, the California Chiefs Association issued the following statement:
SACRAMENTO – Earlier today, Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) presented AB 392 before the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. The California Police Chiefs Association issued the following statement:
“I think it was clear today that there are still too many unanswered questions and concerns regarding AB 392, as written, which is why it was moved to the Assembly Rules Committee. This procedural move gives all parties involved an opportunity to continue working towards an agreement, and we will be part of that process.” – Ronald Lawrence, CPCA President