By Lovepreet Dhinsa
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, a chief endorser of the police accountability measure AB 127 in the California State Assembly, Monday praised the bill’s passage out of the full Assembly and its move to the Senate side.
Assembly Members Sydney Kamlager and Mark Stone introduced the bill on Dec. 18, 2020.
Kamlager took to Twitter to announce the news, where she stated, “with the passage of AB 127 today on the Assembly floor, we’re one step closer in the fight for police officer accountability. Thank you @ChesaBoudin for your partnership-it’s invaluable in this fight.”
Boudin added, “California took an important step towards promoting police accountability…to eliminate barriers to the prosecution of police officers. As the current system is designed, the prosecution is required to use another law enforcement officer and obtain their signature before they can prosecute another officer. Bill AB 127 is designed to overcome this obstacle, by removing the need for another law enforcement officer to sign off.”
As Boudin emphasized, police officers are often reluctant to facilitate or “help in a process that would target one of their own,” which is why it is even more important to bypass the requirement of obtaining a signature from the police department.
By doing so, “it would eliminate the role that other police officers currently play as a check against filing criminal charges,” Boudin said.
While DA Boudin said he believes this bill will hold police officers more accountable, the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) say otherwise.
According to the Association, Boudin’s “dangerous proposal would allow any individual on his staff to sign off on investigatory packets justifying a warrant request to a judge when they have not been trained or have no experience determining probable cause. It is a recipe for disaster.”
In response to the Recall Movement, the SFPOA has also started a website, called Boudin’s Blunders.
While the bill receives major pushback from the SFPOA, SF Police Chief Scott believes that the police department does “own a part of this, and we have to understand what part of this we own. Our policies. Is it the way we go about our enforcement strategies? Is it our culture? This is a time for real and meaningful change.”
Similarly, the Oakland Police Department has not formally addressed this bill, the department has placed an emphasis on de-escalation techniques, because police data show it has led to a 60 percent reduction in stops of African Americans in the City.
Chief LeRonne Armstrong from the Oakland Police Department stated, ““these ideas of random stops, these ideas of what we would call policing, fishing expeditions, they need to end. They are rooted in bias.”
While the bill receives pushback from SFPOA, the bill is set to be heard in front of the complete Senate later May and Boudin said he believes the bill will help improve accountability measures against law enforcement officers.
Lovepreet Dhinsa is a junior undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Politics with a minor in Legal Studies. She has a passion for criminal defense law, and strives to go to law school to fight for indigent clients. As such, she is also involved in her university’s mock trial program and student government.
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