Bills on Police Transparency and Use of Force Advance

California Mother Whose Son was Killed by Police Applauds Committee Approval of Bill to Open Police Records

(From ACLU Press Release) – Today, the Assembly Committee on Appropriations advanced legislation to open law enforcement misconduct and use of force records in California. SB 1421, introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), will make public information about confirmed cases of misconduct – including sexual assault and job-related dishonesty – and serious uses of force by peace officers in California.

Leticia De La Rosa, whose unarmed son, James De La Rosa, was shot and killed by Bakersfield Police Officers, issued the following statement in response:

“My son James loved his family and community. He was the peacemaker in our family and in his school. When he saw conflict, he would bring everyone together to work things out. He should be alive today.

James was only 22 years old when he was shot and killed by Bakersfield Police officers on November 13, 2014.

When he was killed, no one called to let us know. My older son’s friend saw James’s Jeep on the news and called because he was worried. My family and I rushed to the scene. But we got no answers from the police, only orders to leave. Then we rushed to the hospital and waited hours until a coroner confirmed my worst fear: my son was dead.

One of the officers who was involved in James’s shooting has reportedly also been involved in seven other shootings, while another officer has reportedly been involved in another killing. Yet state law shields their records and families like mine rarely get answers to the questions we ask. All we get is secrecy.

This must stop. I will continue to honor my son and be his voice to demand justice for all families who have lost someone to police violence. I thank Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and call on the rest of the legislature and Governor Brown to join me and make SB 1421 state law.”

SB 1421 now heads to the Assembly floor for a vote. The bill is sponsored by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter California, California Faculty Association, California News Publishers Association, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, PICO California, PolicyLink, and Youth Justice Coalition LA.

ACLU Statement on Advancement of Bill to Update California Lethal Use of Force Law and Save Lives

(From ACLU Press Release) – Today, legislation to update California’s lethal use of force law was removed from the Senate Appropriations Committee and referred to the Senate Rules Committee before heading to the Senate for a floor vote. AB 931, introduced by Assemblymembers Weber (D-San Diego) and McCarty (D-Sacramento), is heralded as landmark legislation to save lives.

In response to the bill’s advancement, Natasha Minsker, Director of the ACLU of California Center for Advocacy and Policy, had this response:

“This is a tremendous victory to ensure the bill continues moving forward. Addressing California’s deadly use of force crisis is more important than ever, with many lives on the line. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and we welcome the opportunity to continue conversations on AB 931 and see the bill advance to the Senate for a floor vote.

The bill was written based on best practices and standards recognized by academics and experts in the field, including the Police Executive Research Forum and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Additionally, the bill is modeled after policies already in place in other jurisdictions – and that we know work.

We look forward to participating in ongoing discussions to ensure the passage of legislation to prevent unnecessary deaths and save lives ahead of the Senate floor debate.”

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  1. Jeff M

    Villegas had just led officers on a high-speed chase and crashed his silver Jeep Liberty into a signal light pole on Mount Vernon Avenue at Highway 178.

    It is very sad that this young man had to die, but I guess I live in a different world where the 22 year old boys that I know would never decide to take off in a high-speed chase from cops.  And certainly they would not get out of the car at the scene and approach the cops aggressively unless they were expecting to be shot and killed.

      1. Jeff M

        I don’t believe that for a minute.  I think it is very, very, very unlikely that anyone behaving respectfully and helpfully to a cop is at risk of getting shot.  The sensationalized stories that serve a political agenda do not support any real statistical evidence that these boys improve their chance of not being shot by fleeing.  It is a poor excuse for bad behavior.  If you have not done anything wrong, then why flee?  And why are we so surprised that a suspect leading the cops on a high speed chase… putting the public and the cops that serve the public in great danger… end up dead sometimes?

      2. Ken A

        As Chris Rock says: “When the cop have to chase you they are probably bringing an a$$ kicking with them”.

        Over 90% of people (of all races) beat and/or shot by the police were not following one or more of these simple rules.

        P.S. I let my kids see this video when they were young and my wife did not appreciate Mr. Rock’s “colorful” language (that I think works well to make a good point)…

        1. Don Shor

          Over 90% of people (of all races) beat and/or shot by the police were not following one or more of these simple rules.

          82% of statistics on the internet are made up.

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