Whereas law enforcement officers kill more people in California than in any other state1, and a report on police use of force in 2016 released by California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra states there were 782 incidents in 2016 in which a police officer either used force that resulted in serious injury or death, or fired their weapon, killing 157 people, and in 2017 there were 162 people shot and killed by officers and 20 others killed by other deadly uses of force2 ; Whereas 62% of the use force cases involved people of color, and where 39% of California’s population is Latino3 , they make up 42% of the use of force cases and although Black people make up just 6% of the state’s population3 , they represent 20% of the use of force cases in 2016, and from November of 2016 to July of 2017, a nine month period, there were eighteen officer involved shootings in San Diego County but the District Attorney’s office has only put forward two incidents for prosecution while the rest were found to be justified4 ; Whereas, a justified officer involved shooting is currently determined by the “reasonable officer” standard which asks if the officer’s actions were objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances confronting the officer without regard to their underlying intent or motivation5 ; Therefore we resolve to support AB 931, Police Accountability and Community Protection Act, authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty which changes the standard for use of deadly force by officers to only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death to the officer given the totality of the circumstances and there existed no reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force; moreover we instruct the Party Chair to send a letter of our position to all of our legislative members from San Diego County and to the Speaker of the Assembly and to the Chair of the California Democratic Party. Submitted by Taisha Brown, Central Committee member and Vice Chair of the Metro West Area.
1 Office of Assemblymember Shirley Weber Police Accountability and Protection Act paper
2 State of California Department of Justice, Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Press Release Thursday, August 17, 2017
3 United States Census Bureau, Quick Facts California
4 San Diego County District Attorney, Summer Stephan, appointed District Attorney, Officer Involved Shootings
5 Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989)