California Legislators Weigh More Bills to Reform the Criminal Justice System

By Sam Metz, Palm Springs Desert Sun

The dramatic changes to California’s criminal justice system show no signs of slowing as the state legislature mulls more reforms for the state's police and jails.

Last week in Sacramento, state lawmakers considered several criminal justice-related bills in both the Senate and Assembly’s Public Safety Committees. Here are a few that remain under consideration:

Use of deadly force: Two competing bills advanced through the Senate and Assembly’s Public Safety Committees that propose altering the rules on when police officers can use deadly force. San Diego Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s AB 392 proposes changing the deadly force standard from allowing police to use deadly force when a reasonable officer in the same situation would do the same to only allowing officers to shoot when they’re in danger of serious injury or death. It passed with a 5-2 vote after a hearing where activists flooded the gallery to testify in front of the committee.

Parents with children killed in officer-involved shootings spoke emotionally in favor of the bill and Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Los Angeles, told a story about returning to her home after her home security alarm went off and fearing for her black husband's life as he interacted with officers in their house.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, discusses her proposed measure to limit the use of deadly force by police during a rally at the Capitol on Monday, in Sacramento. Weber's bill would require officers to use de-escalation tactics and allow the use of deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent immediate harm to themselves or others.  (Photo: AP PHOTO)

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, discusses her proposed measure to limit the use of deadly force by police during a rally at the Capitol on Monday, in Sacramento. Weber's bill would require officers to use de-escalation tactics and allow the use of deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent immediate harm to themselves or others. (Photo: AP PHOTO)

The bill has garnered support from criminal justice reform activists and civil rights groups throughout the state, including Riverside County’s All of Us or None, which brought a group of activists to Sacramento to demonstrate their support for the bill.

But opponents of changing the current standard backed a competing bill, SB 230, which the committee will consider April 23.

Sen. Anna Caballero, the bill's sponsor, proposes expanding officer training and updating department policies instead of revising the current standard governing when police officers can use deadly force. Both the Riverside Sheriff’s Department and RSA, the department’s largest union, have backed Caballero's bill.

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Olivia McDowellComment