The California Governor signed into law a series of bills that give the state the power to remove badges from officers who commit misconduct, raise the minimum age for officers, and take other steps to change the police force after calls to the law. reform at the national level.
Bills signed Thursday also limit when police can use things like rubber bullets and rounds of balls in protests. They prohibit restraints that can cause someone to suffocate and require officers to immediately report excessive use of force by others.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said some of the measures were long overdue. He said 46 other states already had the authority to decertify police officers for misconduct.
State Senator Steven Bradford, a Democrat who drafted the bill, said its goal is to end “the cycle of wash, rinse, and repeat police misconduct,” in which officers can resign from a department before be fired and rehired in another.
“This bill is not just about holding bad officers accountable for their misconduct,” Bradford said. “It’s also about rebuilding trust between our communities and law enforcement.”
The law allowing decertification comes 18 years after lawmakers removed a state police standards commission from power. That left it up to local agencies to decide whether the officers should be fired.
The bills were signed more than a year later George floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck and was later convicted of murder. The death of Floyd, who was Black, by Derek Chauvin sparked outrage and called for changes in police across the country.
California police departments will also be prohibited from authorizing transportation techniques or methods that pose a risk of “positional suffocation,” which is what experts said. it happened to floyd but it can also happen when people are attached and left on the ground.
Also among the bills signed Thursday is one that raises the minimum age for officers from 18 to 21 and adds education requirements. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer said data has shown that more mature and educated officers are less likely to use excessive force.
Another aims to increase the transparency of records related to police misconduct.
The governor and lawmakers joined in the signing of the bill Thursday by the parents of those who died after encounters with police.
Among them was the family of Angelo Quinto, who was having a mental health crisis in December and died after being detained by Antioquia police. His family said police knelt on his neck, which police have denied. The family has filed a lawsuit.
“Even the last four minutes of the restriction, he didn’t respond, and they didn’t address that at all …” said his sister, Bella. “It was absolutely excessive and unnecessary.”
The Associated Press contributed.