Gardena, CA–At Rowley Park, alongside legislators, community leaders, and families of victims of police violence, Governor Gavin Newsom Thursday signed legislation creating a system to decertify peace officers for serious misconduct.
The governor also signed legislation increasing transparency of peace officer misconduct records, improving policing responsibility and accountability guidelines, raising eligibility standards, and banning harmful restraint techniques.
“Today marks another step toward healing and justice for all,” said Governor Newsom. “Too many lives have been lost due to racial profiling and excessive use of force. We cannot change what is past, but we can build accountability, root out racial injustice and fight systemic racism. We are all indebted to the families who have persevered through their grief to continue this fight and work toward a more just future.”
SB 2 by Senate President pro-Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) creates a system within the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to investigate and revoke or suspend peace officer certification for serious misconduct, including excessive force, sexual assault, demonstration of bias and dishonesty. This legislation creates the Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division and the Peace Officer Standards Accountability Advisory Board within POST to review serious misconduct cases.
SB 16 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) increases transparency of peace officer misconduct records pertaining to findings of unreasonable or excessive use of force, discriminatory or prejudiced behavior, failure to intervene when witnessing excessive use of force by a peace officer, or participation in unlawful searches and arrests.
“Today is an important day. It’s an inflection point in how we provide for public safety in the State of California,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “I’m proud to stand with my former colleagues and Governor Newsom to embark on a new chapter in our shared fight to infuse our criminal justice system with more trust, transparency, and accountability.”
“I am proud of the important progress the Legislature and Governor have made this year to help make sure people of color in California can be safer in their dealings with law enforcement. No one should have to fear those who are sworn to protect them,” said Senate President pro Tempore Atkins.
Newsom also signed AB 26 by Assembymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) which creates guidelines for police officers to intercede and immediately report if another officer is using excessive force; AB 89 by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) which raises the minimum age to become a police officer to 21 and will enhance education requirements; and AB 490 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) which bans technique and transport methods that involve risk of positional asphyxia.
A full list of the bills signed by the governor is below:
- AB 26 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) – Peace officers: use of force.
- AB 48 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) – Law enforcement: use of force.
- AB 89 by Assemblymember Reggie Jones Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) – Peace officers: minimum qualifications.
- AB 481 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) – Law enforcement and state agencies: military equipment: funding, acquisition, and use.
- AB 490 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) – Law enforcement agency policies: arrests: positional asphyxia.
- AB 958 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson) – Peace officers: law enforcement gangs.
- SB 2 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) – Peace officers: certification: civil rights.
- SB 16 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Peace officers: release of records.
Newsom last year signed a series of bills into law initiating critical criminal justice, juvenile justice, and policing reforms in California, including banning the carotid restraint, requiring the attorney general to conduct investigations into officer-involved shootings of unarmed individuals that result in death, and legislation that reforms the juvenile justice system to put more emphasis on rehabilitation and education. The governor last year also released recommendations from his policing advisors for improving police response to protests and demonstrations and directed the statewide Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to modernize training and guidance for law enforcement.