California’s state Assembly unanimously passed a bill targeting the use of force by police officers in the state — but only after a series of compromises that ultimately led to Black Lives Matter pulling its support from the legislation.
What’s the story?
Before this legislation could be passed, it had to have changes made that had been requested by law enforcement. Among these changes were the removal of definition of the word “necessary” from the bill’s outline of when deadly force would be allowed and the removal of wording that would require police to try to de-escalate a situation before using deadly force.
The state Senate is expected to pass the legislation as well (possibly with additional amendments), and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom (who has called the bill “important”) has indicated that he is prepared to sign it into law.
Under the guidelines laid out in this bill, the actions of a police officer in the time leading up to a fatal encounter could be investigated. Currently, only the moments immediately around the shooting can be looked at. It also limits when lethal force is permissible.
But former supporters worry that the wording of the bill is vague enough to force the courts to deal with sorting out the details down the road. And this, they argue, might have to wait until someone else is killed by police.
Which groups pulled out?
In addition to Black Lives Matter, a group based in northern California that represented the families of people killed by police also pulled its support from the legislation.
Laurie Valdez, the partner of Antonio Guzman Lopez who was killed by police in 2014, called the new version of the law “a slap in our face.”
“Another person is going to have to die before we can prove that this bill is not going to do what you think it’s going to do,” she told the Los Angeles Times.