AB 392 passes Legislative committee hearing

A CFA-sponsored bill to amend the legal standard of police use of deadly force in California passed the Assembly Committee on Public Safety Tuesday during a hearing that drew massive crowds to the Legislature.

AB 392, the “California Act to Save Lives”, would update police use of force protocols to ensure officers avoid the use of deadly force at every possible opportunity. In 2017, police killed 172 people in California, most of whom were unarmed. AB 392, authored by Assemblymembers Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarty, also would require that officers use de-escalation tactics.

“The need for reform is clear and long overdue, and it’s time to enact a policy that preserves the sanctity of human life,” said Dr. Weber, a former San Diego State Professor and CFA member.

Faculty and students were among hundreds who declared support for the bill, and cheered its passage Tuesday. CFA is among several sponsors of the AB 392. The bill now moves to the Rules Committee.

Current law regarding police use of deadly force has not been updated since 1872, and is the oldest un-amended use of force statute in the country. It also disproportionately impacts communities of color, who have grown increasingly fearful of police, witnesses and legislators acknowledged.

Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove relayed an emotional personal account of her interaction with police, who were in her house responding to an alarm having been set off when she got home one day. Voice shaking, Kamlager-Dove described how she started crying when she realized she feared the officers.

“If I am traumatized in my own middle-class home, then we must acknowledge the pain and fear and trauma that communities of Black, brown, Asian, poor, mentally ill, LGBTQ, must recognize every day,” Kamlager-Dove said.

To read more about AB 392 and CFA’s advocacy, click here.