By Zohd Khan
DAVIS — As the nation continues to strive to combat police brutality and other injustices amid the several casualties that have taken place in recent time, the Davis Police Accountability Commission (PAC) has entrusted a police auditor, Micheal Gennaco, to monitor the changes occurring around Davis and California as a whole.
During last Monday’s PAC meeting, Gennaco provided an update on the recent legislation set to be enacted in California starting next year on Jan. 1, 2021.
First, Gennaco acknowledged Assembly Bill 1185, which provides those who are overseeing sheriffs with the ability to issue subpoenas. He explained that “the oversight of sheriffs has been particularly difficult, if not impossible.”
Gennaco further cited an incident in the neighboring county of Sacramento, where their county’s police auditor was denied access to his designated office after the sheriff had deactivated the auditor’s key card. These events transpired following a critical or harsh report the auditor had written on an officer-involved shooting, which the sheriff was not very fond of and thus reacted by denying the auditor’s access to vital information.
Another mentioned piece of legislation was AB 1506, which asserts that the State Attorney General will take control of investigations where the individual shot was found to be unarmed.
Gennaco explained that it would be interesting to see how this legislation would be implemented, partly because the attorney general doesn’t actually want to partake in such a task, and also since funds for such investigations are scarce.
Among the most notable bills mentioned by Gennaco at Monday’s meeting was Bill AB 1186, which banned the use of all neck/choke holds that, when performed by police officers, could be lethal to the restrained victim of which the task is being performed upon. This bill is especially relevant due to the recent killing of George Floyd, who had suffocated to death in Minnesota after a police officer kneeled on his neck for approximately eight minutes.
Some other bills that went under the radar during this year’s legislative process included Senate Bill 480, which banned camouflage uniforms, and SB 203, which made it compulsory for juveniles to speak with an attorney before waiving their Miranda Rights.
Lastly, Gennaco acknowledged SB 203, which now makes it a requirement for juveniles to speak with an attorney before being able to waive their Miranda Rights. Gennaco explained that this, in effect, means that “no juveniles will be providing information in custodial interrogations” as attorneys will never advise anyone to waive their Miranda Rights.
Commission member Dillan Horton expressed great disbelief and shock over the fact that we needed to pass a bill to make this a rule for juveniles, stating that it “boggles the mind” that we live in a state where law enforcement ever tried to coerce juveniles into waiving their rights.
The Davis Police Auditor also offered a breakdown of the promising bills that although proposed, were ultimately vetoed by Governor Newsom or didn’t make it out of the legislature.
One such bill would have implemented a police decertification process in California, meaning that officers who were fired in one department for violating proper conduct could no longer be hired at any other department.
This year’s legislative process could have also seen the banning of tear gas and restriction of rubber bullets for police officers in California, but that proposal was not passed in the legislature.
Despite the unsuccessful outcomes of these bills’ journey through the California Legislature, Gennaco assured that they garnered a ton of support by the public and he believed they would be reintroduced at a later time.
Although there wasn’t much news pertaining specifically to Davis, Gennaco informed the commission about his experience moderating two educational seminars on policing, and explained that the COVID-19 Pandemic made seminars more accessible, as they were online, hence there being more people able to participate.
Prior to the auditor’s briefings, the PAC commission also discussed the components of the upcoming annual review of the police auditor’s work done so far and their overall consensus is that Micheal Gennaco is an effective auditor who helped solidify the bridge between the police, community and the PAC.
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