Bill Watch

Police Use-of-Force Bill Lives, Will Land on Assembly Floor

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

After appearing irreparably stalled last week, AB 392, a bill that would change the circumstances under which law enforcement officers can use deadly force, will move on to the Assembly Floor–thanks to some amendments.

On Thursday, after negotiating those amendments, law enforcement unions dropped their opposition to the bill.

Current law says that officers can use deadly force when “objectively reasonable”—when another officer with similar training and experience would have behaved similarly under the same circumstances.

“That’s a very squishy standard,” the ACLU’s director of police practices, Peter Bibring, said at a KPCC In Person forum on transparency in law enforcement.

“If I take you out to a park and want to show you a new kind of ball game, and you ask the rules, and I say, ‘You get it in the net and you do what’s reasonable,’ it doesn’t actually provide you with much guidance,” Bibring said.

The bill, authored by Assemblymembers Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), requires law enforcement officers to use force only when “necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person.”

Originally the bill defined “necessary” to mean “no reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force,” but the amendments wiped the definition away.

Now, “in determining whether force is necessary, officers shall evaluate each situation in light of the particular circumstances of each case, and shall use other available resources and techniques if reasonably safe and feasible to an objectively reasonable officer.”

The amended bill also lost the original version’s requirement that officers try to de-escalate a tense situation–through “sound tactics, including the use of time, distance, communications, tactical repositioning, and available resources–before shooting.

The somewhat watered-down bill, which would still give California one of the strongest use-of-force laws in the nation, has the approval of the ACLU, and other advocates, as well as California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“This is an important bill, one that will help restore community trust in our criminal justice system,” said Governor Newsom.

AB 392 is a reboot of a bill Assm. Weber introduced last year in response to the death of Stephon Clark, who was fatally shot on March 18 by Sacramento police officers who believed the cell phone he was holding was a gun.

“With so many unnecessary deaths, I think everyone agrees that we need to change how deadly force is used in California,” Weber said. “We can now move a policy forward that will save lives and change the culture of policing in California.”

The bill is co-sponsored by a dozen organizations, including the ACLU, the Youth Justice Coalition, Black Lives Matter, and the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, and officially supported by dozens more.


  • I don’t know anything about McCarthy, but Weber is pushing this bill as a result of Stephon Clark being sent to a worse place by Sacramento police. In that case, DA Shubert and State Attorney General Xavier Becerra felt the shooting was justified, but Weber feels people, particularly black men (BTW, one of the Sacramento cops was black), should, without consequence, be able to:

    -Break into/vandalize multiple cars with a pry bar.
    -Smash the rear slider of an 89 yr old man’s house with the man inside
    -Jump over fences and hide from police
    -Have marijuana, codeine and cocaine their system
    -Move toward officers while disobeying orders

    Many legal experts, the Supreme Court and society in general, understand the job of policing is fundamentally different and inherently more dangerous than any other job and have historically granted police more leeway.

    But the liberal agenda is chipping away at this margin granted by society. I wonder how many cops will be killed as they hesitate while doing a checklist (as the bill requires) of options before using lethal force, knowing they could be CRIMINALLY prosecuted if they screw up in those few seconds.

    Assembly Member Weber thinks, “something should be done about unarmed black men being killed by police.” She should focus on the REAL problem, which is rarely the police. The problem is a society that thinks it’s OK to commit a crime or multiple crimes and, when confronted by police, ignore their orders or even attack them. A culture that teaches it’s children police are bad and they should disobey and disrespect them at every opportunity.

    A recent example of this is what’s happening in Torrance, where a fine, upstanding citizen, Christoper De’Andre Mitchell (gang member, moniker “Cowboy,” with convictions for possessing a firearm, operating a chop shop, THREE previous vehicle thefts, possessing burglary tools, trespassing and possessing controlled substances), was killed by Torrance police JUST because he was driving (another) stolen car with a sawed-off air rifle on the floorboard between his legs and made a move for the weapon.

    In that case, Torrance has (so far) refused to back down and protesters including BLM have gathered weekly at City Council meetings and even at the mayor’s house.

  • “You say tomato I say tomato, let’s call this whole thing off”. All this huffing and puffing about the po-lice, does anyone see any real difference in the wording of ab 393 from the “objectively reasonable” standard? The public’s mindset regarding the police seems to be, cops are brutal nazis ,let’s hire more cops. This mental conflict might explain why social justice types (e.g. cf) are so prone to delusion and hysteria.

  • Based on the picture and the people behind her who are supporting this bill, speaks for itself. This bill does nothing to protect allegedly unarmed black men. What Weber and those fine individuals that comprise BLM, should take this into consideration:

    Blacks account for the majority of gun homicide victims/arestees in the US while whites account for the vast majority of non-gun homicide victims/arrestees, of the gun murder victims in the United States between 2007-2016, 57% were black, 40.6% white (including Hispanic), 1.35% Asian, 0.98% unknown race and 0.48% Native American.

    Just last month (April 20, 2019) LAPD officers were chasing a suspect (black) through the Pueblo Projects. Further, there was an ARMED black man standing in the general area of the foot pursuit. As the first LAPD officer runs by, the ARMED black man appears to try and pursue and shoot the first officer (possibly in the back). However, unbeknownst to the ARMED black man, a second LAPD officer (who was following his partner) came from behind, which startled the ARMED, black man. Thus, causing the ARMED black man to shoot at the second LAPD officer. Nonetheless, the ARMED black man lost that gunfight.

    If we are to pass sensible, common sense, practical laws then let us do that. However, do not try and pass laws under the guise of unarmed black men are being shot indiscriminately by police officers. Further, pass the laws with the best interest of the community at hand, not because the color of your skin matches those poor unarmed black men and you have a personal agenda.

  • Thank you Pat.

    It’s the strangest thing, the sheep are teaming up with the wolves to attack the sheepdog.

  • California is a heaping $hit pile. Libs don’t want consequences for anyone but those trying to do the right thing. Send all of the illegals here. Send all of the drug burned out “mentally ill” here. The rest of the country thinks CA is nuts might as well go all in and at least give honest, law abiding people a place to live in peace. Too bad the golden dream is now a cesspool but that’s what progressives want.

  • I love how these people think that during intense situations, we can just press the pause button and go over a bunch of different scenarios with our partners. Guess what, there is no pause button. We have to make split second decisions and live with the consequences of our actions. This bill will indeed put many officers at risk. Plus they are always trying to take our benefits away. With this bill and the constant attack over police benefits, they will soon see a huge decrease in law enforcement over the next few years. No one will want to be a cop anymore.

  • Jesus, gentlemen, don’t get all worked up when your boss, the people through their representatives, give you some guidance on what you can and can’t do. Is it really that hard to not shoot someone who does not have a gun? If you can’t live within those parameters why not quit and move on.

    Major Kong, you are partially right, politicians like shiny buildings and police officers. It gives the illusion of economic development and public safety, respectively. But, as recent years have shown, many think the police is too bloated and takes too much of the budget. And, for what? For year in LA politicians and the police have wanted to cross the 10,000 figure, but never really have. And, crime just keeps going down.

    Mr. Rolman, Im not sure what your point is. So, someone tried to shoot a cop (so you say) and you shot him. I’ve been in the Pueblo projects and no one has ever tried to shoot me. Perhaps you may do well to ask yourself why someone does not like you. I’m more concerned with the Ezel Fords of this world, who end up dead because of some “investigative stop.”

    CA Sucks, you are still here. The rest of country? California has 40 million people and has the highest GDP of any state. Hell, between CA and NY you have a quarter of the country’s GDP. If it weren’t for California and New York the people in the south and the rest of the red country would be worse off. California pays for their welfare benefits. And, yours, if you are a public employee.

    Skippy, don’t get all worked up, no one is trying to take your benefits away. This sky-is-falling-no-one-will-want-to-be-a-cop nonsense has been played out for years, and you and your ilk are still here. As long as the pay and benefits are better than what you can get elsewhere, you’ll be here and people will apply.

  • ..then CA should have no problem taking care of it’s self when wild fires, natural distaster’s hit and refunding the money federal gave them for their high speed train to nowhere that no one wants. By your line of reasoning I guess you think CA and other populous states should have more say in the governance of this country? Thankfully, people more knowledgeable than you (not a difficult stretch) thought about this potential problem and put checks in place for this.

    No man is an island, divided we stand and united we fall are two sayings that come to mind. There are reasons the USA has withstood and wars were fought to preserve the Union. Hell, why don’t the individual cities and counties in the state of California step out on their own by your line of reasoning.

    Crime has gone down in part due to the decriminalization of many offenses. The legislature was able to cut prison spending and satisfy their leftist agenda by sending a clear signal to law enforcement regarding what they deemed criminal and worthy of enforcement. No one gets arrested for being under the influence of or being in possession of a controlled substance. No one goes to jail for non-violent property theft crimes.

    Politicians are not the boss of law enforcement. Their job is to defend and support the US Constitution number one as referenced in their oath and secondarily the laws of the states and jurisdiction for which they serve. It’s not until recently, that state officials have taken it upon themselves to ignore Federal Laws, create workarounds and blatantly defy their enforcement.

    I’m sure many African Americans and other groups who benefited immensely from the enforcement of Federal Law during the civil rights movement and landmark modern day US Supreme Court decisions have a different view on the supremacy of the Federal Government relative to that of the states.

  • Conspiracy, I would happily sign up for California not getting any federal money, so long as it sends no money to the federal government. In that case, it would be able to take care the fires, immigrants, and other natural disasters without seeking federal aid. As you know, unlike the god forsaken part of the country that is the midwest and south, California sends more to the Federal Government than it gets.

    And, yes, I do think the more populous states should have more of a say so. I would settle for one man, one vote. Is that not a democracy? The electoral college, as you may know, was, in large part, a compromise, a bone for the south given that most of their residents (slaves) would not have been able to vote. And, they got a weighted-vote for slaves, 3/5th. That was the big difference back then, between slave holding and nonslave holding states. We no longer have slaves, so I think its time to get rid of the electoral college. What could be more democratic than the person with most votes wins.

    And, where do you get that its not “until recently” that states have taken to ignore federal law. That you did not care when states ignored it before when it affected black people and the army or national guard had to step in lest black people get lynched is another story, one that you perhaps are oblivious of. You should pick up a history book before you spew such nonsense. The difference is that you whine about a few immigrants walking around or selling oranges in the freeway off ramp; black people had to wait about 100 years for the federal government to began doing its job and protecting its citizens, during which time the south was littered with their bodies and trees watered with their blood. So, yes, I suspect Blacks have a different view than you.

  • OK…put it to a vote or better yet, why doesn’t the governor declare California an independent and free standing country since the states legislature is so in tune with the will of the people. Since you seemed to be so enlightened, let’s see how the Great State defends itself since it will no longer have the benefit of a military and “other people’s” money and resources to use when it needs them.

    Electoral college, I think you should pick up a US History book and not mix things up with whatever crap hole country you immigrated from. What leftist classroom did you get your information? Or was it the internet? The electoral college was put in place to balance the votes in Congress with that of the popular vote by qualified citizens. This was to make sure more populous states didn’t have an unfair advantage over less populous one. We have two US senators per state vs US representatives being based on populations for the same reasons. Just because you believe in a fiction based history, don’t try to pedal it to others.

    What story did you concoct regarding the fact states violating federal law and the federal government having to intervene. Are you are going back prior to the 20th century? I was referring to modern history. The 1950 and 1960’s are still relevant to black people since many of them were born in and lived through the a Civil Rights movement. You should study history and realize Presidents Kennedy and Johnson were instrumental in using the power of the federal government to combat states that were out of line. The US Supreme Court was the final judge regarding the desecration of schools.

    California is one of the most segregated places around. Immigrants come to this country and create “mini-homelands” from all countries, especially from our southern boarder. I am curious to see how Mexico and others would treat “a few immigrants walking around or selling oranges” which was a very racist characterization by the way. What efforts would they go to to protect these immigrants into their country? Mexico’s treatment and view of immigrants from Central America, from countries they share more in common with than the USA by the way, was informative and telling.

    Oh..and black people were citizens of this country, not illegal immigrants from another country. Let’s not confuse compare the two histories, they are totally different.

  • Hold these clowns accountable and stop letting them get away with murder, time after time.

    The standard should and must be no different than a citizen armed and in a position to behave objectively.

    For far to long now, since the 1800’s these people have gotten away with murder on a continuous basis.

    Look at the unlawful murder of the guy on the 101 freeway last January,
    There’s simply no reasonable or rational explanation for the shooting death!!!!! But we’ll their entitled to kill you 🙁

    Enough is enough, and watering down the original bill will not protect the community from these predators!!

  • Wyatt…heck yeah, let’s get rid of all laws, courts, law enforcement, jails, prisons, judges and lawyers all together. It will be like “The Purge” everyday. That’s the kind of world and society I want not live in. Let everybody settle their own scores, “survival of the fittest “, “an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for life”.

    Especially those cops, we don’t need them and they don’t serve any purpose. Mad Max style and chaos rules.


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