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Four Police Accountability Bills California Lawmakers Should Prioritize Before the End of Session

August 19, 2020

The California legislature is set to gavel out on Aug. 31. By then, California lawmakers should consider passing four critical police accountability bills that would help address the disproportionate toll of police violence against marginalized communities in California, including Black and Latino communities. 

Here’s why California Moms Demand Action is urging lawmakers to pass these four bills before the end of the legislative session:

  • Assembly Bill 767: would allow those who have been the victim of the crime of excessive use of force by law enforcement to seek compensation from the California Victim Compensation Board. 
  • Assembly Bill 1185: would authorize a county to establish a sheriff oversight board.  The chair of the board would have subpoena power to investigate matters within their jurisdiction.
  • Assembly Bill 1196 would prohibit a law enforcement agency from authorizing the use of chokeholds and other techniques that involve a substantial risk of asphyxia.
  • Assembly Bill 1506 would create better police accountability procedures by requiring a state prosecutor to investigate incidents of officer-involved use of force resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian upon request from a local law enforcement agency, district attorney, city council, or county or city and county board of supervisors. 

Every year, police in America shoot and kill more than 1,000 people, according to data from Mapping Police Violence. Black and Latino people in the United States are also far more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts. Police are nearly 3 times more likely to shoot and kill Black people than white people in the United States. On average, Police kill 159 Californians every year. Black, Latino and American Indian Californians are far more likely to be killed by police than white Californians. 

Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation,utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.

As a whole, gun violence takes a disproportionate toll on marginalized communities in the United States. Black Americans represent the majority of homicide and nonfatal shooting victims in the U.S. and are far more likely than white Americans to be victimized by and exposed to assaultive gun violence. In California, Black people are 10 times as likely as white people to die by gun homicide, followed by American Indians at 4.5 times more likely and Latino people at 2.4 times more likely. 

Statistics about gun violence in California are available here, and information on how California’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here. Read more about gun violence and police shootings here

If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from California Moms Demand Action, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

If you're a member of the media, please send inquiries to [email protected]