Gavin Newsom Signs New Police Shooting Bill Into Law

“I’m ready to sign this damn thing,” Governor Newsom told a crowd in Sacramento Monday before signing a bill that aims to reduce police shootings in California. He was surrounded by families of people killed by police, many of them holding up pictures of their deceased loved ones.

“As California goes, so goes the rest of the United States of America," Newsom said. "And we are doing something today that stretches the boundaries of possibility and sends a message to people all across this country — that they can do more."

Under the new law, peace officers can only use deadly force when “necessary.” Current law stipulates that use of deadly force must be “reasonable” — a subtle but potentially significant difference.

While some have expressed skepticism that the bill will do much to change the status quo, the American Civil Liberties Union has said it is the strongest language on police use-of-force enacted by any state so far. Polilce reform advocates say the original language made it very difficult to hold officers accountability when they use deadly force even against unarmed individuals.

Assembly Bill 392 was authored by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber following the death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark in Sacramento last year. It takes effect Jan. 1.

Read more about California’s new use-of-force standards at the Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times


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