(From Press Release) – On Wednesday night, a bill that would have changed the standard for when California police can use deadly force was held in the Legislature. Assembly Bill 931, introduced by Assemblymembers Weber (D-San Diego) and McCarty (D-Sacramento), would have established that police officers cannot use deadly force when they have other reasonable alternatives.
In response, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), PICO California, PolicyLink, and Youth Justice Coalition L.A. issued the following joint statement:
We are severely disappointed that the California Legislature will not address one of the most pressing issues of our time by passing legislation to hold police accountable this year.
AB 931 was landmark legislation that offered a commonsense solution to California’s deadly problem with policing. 172 Californians were killed by law enforcement in 2017 alone. The bill’s premise was simple: police shouldn’t kill if they have other options. The choice for lawmakers was also simple: vote to save lives or ignore the epidemic of unjustified killings by police.
We thank Assemblymembers Weber and McCarty, who responded to constituents’ concerns and introduced the historic AB 931. We also thank Senators Wiener, Mitchell, Skinner, Jackson, and Bradford who voted for the bill in committee. Finally, we want to thank Senate President Atkins for acknowledging that the current deadly use of force standard is unconstitutional and for committing to taking this issue up again next year.
But let us be clear. Every day that goes by without changing the standard for when police can use deadly force, is a day that another person will be unjustly killed in California. The California Legislature has a responsibility and a moral obligation to change this outdated standard, and to do so swiftly. Inaction is no longer an option.
That this historic bill has advanced this far and received the groundswell of support it did is a testament to the power, dedication and leadership of families who have lost loved ones to police violence and to the organizations that fight to eradicate police violence every day – and to the fact that the days of police unions killing bills before they see the light of day are over. Rest assured that families will have justice, and we will persevere.