CA Could Soon Have Strictest Deadly Use of Force Laws in US

Rebekah Sager
July 09, 2019 - 8:29 am

Governor Gavin Newsom will likely sign into law Assembly Bill 392 Tuesday -- legislature intended to apply tougher standers for police to use deadly force. 

The new law will allow officers to use their weapons only "when necessary in defense of human life," and will mean that California will have some of the most stringent standards for use of deadly force in the country. 

“Race matters, and to suggest otherwise is a blatant denial of the obvious,” said Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat who presented the bill on the Senate floor.

“It’s obvious to so many that the current ‘reasonable standard’ of using force… does not protect people’s fundamental human rights.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, the San Diego Democrat who wrote AB 392, says the law was never intended to put police officers in any danger. 

“We all care about our law enforcement officers. When you start asking people to bring change, it’s almost like there’s an attack on the officers, and yet that was not the case at all,” Weber said. “We were not fighting law enforcement, we were fighting for change.”

Although most Civil rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union say AB 392 will protect the public and are overwhelmingly in favor of it; groups such as Black Lives Matter say the new law offers too much compromise for law enforcement and has been weakened because of it. 

“I don’t know how we’re ever going to get meaningful police accountability legislation passed when the police associations themselves are the ones that are kind of seen as having to sign off,” Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, told Cal Matters