Recently, the California Assembly passed legislation changing the rules that govern the use of lethal force by police officers.
It was faced with some last-minute opposition from all the families of the victims of police brutality. They said that the bill’s language is compromised and it waters down the legislation. Let’s have a look for ourselves, shall we?
Assembly Bill 392
The California Act to Save Lives had gone ahead and changed the use of police force from ‘when reasonable’ to ‘when necessary.’ In a concession to police groups, on the other hand, the final language used in the Bill indicated that ‘when necessary’ refers to when police officers have evaluated the situation. This means that once the totality of the circumstances has been determined by police officers, they will be granted the license to kill.
“Like a Slap in Our Face”
There were so many families of the victims of police shootings who could also be seen sharing their problems against the bill. Laurie Valdez is one of these people. Her partner was shot down in 2014 by the San Jose State police. All she had to say was that these changes in the legislation were, “…Like a slap in our face.”
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Some People Supported These Changes
There were, however, other families of victims that were sponsors and supporters of all these changes in the bill that had been written by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber. This Democrat from San Diego was a Black lawmaker who was inspired by the fact that she wanted to keep her grandsons safe and that the police probably had a long way to go in terms of behavioral and performance training.
Cephus Johnson is another example as he was the uncle of Oscar Grant. Oscar was shot down in Oakland in 2009 by a Bay Area Rapid Transit Officer. He said in an interview that there are as many as 5 organizations that will be cosponsoring this bill and will be working directly with the families of past victims.
Stevante Clark is one of the members of the group that is being led by Cephus Johnson. His brother had managed to become a huge rallying point for the bill when he got killed in a police shootout just last year! Clark said that the bill might be a little watered down with the changes, but it is still progress; slow progress is always better than no progress.