New California bill would limit when police officers are allowed to shoot

Image via Orlando Sentinel

Following the shooting of a young, unarmed black man in Sacremento, California is eying a new law for police. The law would redefine language that states when a police officer is allowed to shoot.

Currently, police are allowed to shoot a suspect “when reasonable.” Under the new legislation, police would only be allowed to shoot “when necessary.”

Sacremento-based Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D) co-authored the bill with fellow Democrat Assemblywoman Shirley Weber. The bill is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union and the California Legislative Black Caucus.

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“We should no longer be the target practice of a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ police force,” said Assemblyman Christopher Holden.

The legislation is based on studies that show black men are killed at far higher rates than white men.

Currently, it’s an “over-100-year-old law that too often justifies deadly force incidents,” McCarty said.

The ACLU argues that current laws are set up to protect police. “It’s clear that the current law protects the police, not the people,” ACLU legislative advocate Lizzie Buchen.

Weber thinks California is the perfect place for this first-of-its-kind legislation.

“If California can’t do it,” she asked, “who can?”


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