Monday, May 27, 2019

A Bill to Save Lives

Courtesy of

Are you aware that there is a bill going through the California State Assembly that needs your support? The bill - AB 392: The California Act to Save Lives – redefines the circumstances under which police officers in the state can use deadly force. Currently, police officers can kill a person even when they have available options other than the use of lethal force.

AB 392 limits the power of police officers to use deadly force and gives them the authority to use deadly force only when they don’t have other options. AB 392 was introduced in February 2019 by California Assembly members Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarthy in response to the murder of Stephon Clark in Sacramento and the recent murders of other young black men at the hands of the police.

The bill is expected to be voted on in the California State Assembly by the end of this month.
AB 392 amends California Penal Code (CPC) section 196 (Justifiable Homicide by a Peace Officer) and CPC 835a (Authority to Use Force) and enacts a new standard for police officers to follow before they use their guns. Read the complete bill here.

Unlike AB 931, an earlier bill, which was also authored by Assembly members Weber and McCarthy for the purpose of restricting police officers’ use of deadly force, that was defeated by the law enforcement community, AB 392 recently gained the backing of key law enforcement groups.

You can see several of the supporters of AB 392 discuss the impact that police shootings have had on their lives and on their family members in this Talking with Henrietta television show called, Getting a Male Perspective. The show was taped on May 23, 2019 and can be seen in its entirety here.

While AB 392 establishes separate standards for non-lethal force, lethal force and non-lethal use of force resulting in an in-custody death, it also allows for an officer to be charged with manslaughter if a mistake is made, for example, in “situations in which the victim is a person other than the person that the peace officer was seeking to arrest, retain in custody, or defend against, or if the necessity for the use of deadly force was created by the peace officer’s criminal negligence.”

AB 392 is supported by such organizations as the ACLU CA, Alliance for Boys an Men of Color, Anti Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter, CA, CA Faculty Association, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ) , PICO (Faith in Action), CA, Silicon Valley DeBug, United Domestic Workers of America (UDW), AFSCME Local 3930, PolicyLink, Youth Justice LA, CA Families United 4 Justice, STOP Coalition

Public protests and concerns over police shootings are making a difference. A second bill, SB 230, which was originally backed by the law enforcement community, “would require each law enforcement agency to maintain a policy that provides guidelines on the use of force, utilizing deescalation techniques and other alternatives to force when feasible, specific guidelines for the application of deadly force, and factors for evaluating and reviewing all use of force incidents, among other things. The bill would require each agency to make their use of force policy accessible to the public. By imposing additional duties on local agencies, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.”

AB 392 was last amended by the Assembly Rules Committee on May 24, 2019 and is expected to be voted on by the full assembly soon. SB 230 was ordered to have a third reading by the CA State Senate on May 16, 2019. Expect a final vote later this month or in early June.

Contact your local state legislators and let them know what you think. Leave your comments below, also. We’d like to know what you think, too.  It is a life and death matter!