California looking to limit officers' use of deadly force

California Lawmakers Seek Change in Police Lethal Force Standard After Stephon Clark Shooting

California lawmakers propose legislation restricting when police can shoot

PERF recommended police agencies adopt a standard that focuses on whether deadly force is necessary, and "proportional" to the threat an officer faces.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it would mean officers could shoot only if there were no reasonable alternatives to using deadly force.

"It's time for California to modernize our century-old deadly force standard", said Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, a co-author, said in a statement.

Officers already use deadly force only when necessary and are taught to try to defuse risky situations first when possible, said Ed Obayashi, a Plumas County sheriff's deputy and special prosecutor who trains officers and testifies in court on police use of force.

California State Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) speaks during a news conference to announce new legislation to address recent deadly police shootings, April 3, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Frequently it's because of the doctrine of "reasonable fear".

Two California lawmakers proposed a bill Tuesday that would redefine in what circumstances a police officer is allowed to use deadly force.

The proposed standard could require officers to delay confronting a suspect they fear may be armed until backup arrives, for instance, or to give explicit verbal warnings that the suspect will be killed unless he or she drops the weapon, she said. Naturally, this would make some law enforcement officers nervous, as the proposed change would open officers up to discipline, firing, or even prosecution if the standard was not met.

We call on the rest of the Legislature and Governor Brown to support the Police Accountability and Community Protection Act (Weber) and SB 1421 (Skinner), to protect the people of California and hold officers accountable for their actions.

Officers already use deadly force only when necessary and are taught to try to defuse risky situations first when possible, said Ed Obayashi, a Plumas County, Calif., sheriff's deputy and special prosecutor who trains officers and testifies in court on police use of force.

The family's attorney, Ben Crump, said Friday Omalu's findings contradict the police narrative of the shooting.

Local law enforcement officers KSBY reached out to did not wish to comment on the proposed bill at this time. "This legislation will enhance community trust, improve officer training, and make the job of policing and those they police safer".

"What steps could you have taken instead of what you did?" The move would add a debate element to a narrow process that has been seen by some as biased toward law enforcement.

The lawmakers said police shot and killed 162 people in California past year, only half of whom were armed with guns. They say they shot at him because they thought he had a gun.

The officers told investigators they opened fired after Clark turned and advanced at them holding what they believed was a gun, police said.

Cities's strict standards are generally for situations where there is time to deescalate volatile situations, such as with people who are mentally unstable, Obayashi said.

The lawmakers and ACLU point to a 2016 study by policy analyst and racial justice advocate Samuel Sinyangwe that analyzed use-of-force policies by major USA police departments. In 2017, officers shot and killed 162 people in the state, and only half of those shooting victims were armed with guns.

Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox. California police departments have some of the highest rates of killings in the nation: Bakersfield, Stockton, Long Beach, Santa Ana and San Bernardino are all in the top 15.

This article was reported by The Associated Press.

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