California lawmakers scaling back lethal force bill

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Lawmakers have significantly scaled back on a proposed bill that would have made it easier to prosecute California law officers who used deadly force. The assembly measure was drafted in response to the shooting of Stephon Clark, who was killed by police officers in Sacramento following an on-foot pursuit back in March. Lawmakers say they recently amended the bill, dropping language that would hold officers criminally liable for killing a person citing too many discrepancies and a lot of opposition. The new proposal sets across-the-board policy standards for every police force in the state. It also includes more disciplinary action for officers who do not follow proper procedures. Lawmakers say they’re hoping the state’s de-escalation operations will mimic those of the military.  

“We have gotten to the core because that was…the impetus from it was not what’s gonna happen are we prosecuting police and so forth and so on.  the real concern was, what are our police officers doing to reduce the number of incidents that are occurring that bring us heartbreak to unarmed individuals who are shot and killed,” said Assemblymember Shirley Weber a Democrat from San Diego.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer is one of the many law enforcement leaders in California waiting to see what new guidelines lawmakers in Sacramento may establish for officers when it comes to the use of lethal force. Chief Dyer says there’s a lot at stake for public safety. 

“You’re going to put that individual officer in prison based on a judgment they made in that split second trying to do the right thing it’s very dangerous what that is going to do for law enforcement cause officers to hesitate and ultimately either an officer or a citizen lose their life,” said Dyer. 

Lawmakers say the spirit of the proposed measure is to improve the relationship between law enforcement and California citizens. They say the same protocol is currently being used in San Francisco and Seattle with positive results. The bill headed for a vote on the senate floor.

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April 29 2021 12:00 am

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