California Lawmakers Want to Curb Police Violence

police car and crowdsJanuary 18, 2015 – The past year has seen several instances of lethal force at the hands of the police make headlines across the country. Nationwide protests and blatant public outrage were the result. Lawmakers in California are now determined to pass laws that will help dampen police violence.

Several bills are already being discussed among those in the state legislature. Current bills include those that will equip officers with body cameras, a system of collecting data on officer use of force, third-party reviews of uses of force, and a way to train officers to deal with mentally ill suspects.

Says newly inaugurated California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, “California law enforcement has a unique opportunity to lead the way for the entire nation. As a daughter of Brown v. Board of education, and the civil rights movement, I know we can make progress.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, “The vast majority of peace officers are good people. But police officer also has awesome power and, as a result, one or two bad actors can really wreak havoc on a community or a state.”

When it comes to transparency and public trust, problems arise.

One such problem that is a hurdle to police transparency is the lack of a statewide database that tracks officers’ use of deadly force. Another issue is the fact that local district attorneys, who often have established relationships with local law enforcement, are the same people investigating officers who use lethal force.

Another idea is to make the disciplinary actions against officers who are accused of misconduct by the public accessible. As it stands, disciplinary processes and outcomes are often kept within the department rather than visible to the public that the officers serve. According to the head of American Civil Liberties Union of California’s Center for Advocacy and Policy, Natasha Minsker, “It’s difficult, I would say impossible, to build trust between the public and law enforcement if you don’t have accountability.”

It is the aim of California lawmakers to focus on exactly that: accountability. In the coming year, the public will see if these efforts bring new policies to fruition.

If you have been injured by the police, an experienced attorney can assist you. Let an attorney fight for your rights! You do not have to live in fear or suffer in silence. We can help you hold the people who are supposed to protect and serve accountable. Call today.

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