SACRAMENTO — One year after the tragic shooting death of Stephon Clark in his grandmother’s backyard in Sacramento, the ACLU of California is launching an advertising buy in support of legislation to reduce the number of police shootings in the state. The organization is investing in 30 second radio spots that will be featured for a two-week period on KHYL-FM in Sacramento and KPWR-FM in Los Angeles.
The ads seek to educate the public on the issue of police shootings and offer listeners a way to contact their lawmakers to request their support for Assembly Bill 392: The California Act to Save Lives (D-Weber). The organization is also planning Spanish language radio ads in support of AB 392.
“Addressing police brutality in Black and Brown communities is one of the most pressing issues of our time,” said Abdi Soltani, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California. “We must change California law so that police officers are trained to de-escalate situations and only use deadly force when absolutely necessary.”
In 2017, California police killed 172 people, more than two-thirds of whom were people of color. California police kill people at a rate 37% higher than the national average per capita.
Current law allows police officers to kill people even when they have alternatives to deadly force. As a result, most police departments’ use of force policies lack the clarity necessary to provide officers with clear guidance on when the use of deadly force is, and is not, permitted.
Two months ago the California Department of Justice released a report recommending that the Sacramento Police Department update its use of force policy to more clearly define when force is authorized and require that officers use de-escalation tactics and exhaust all reasonably available alternatives before using deadly force. The report was released as part of the California Attorney General’s investigation into the death of Stephon Clark.
AB 392 will ensure the California Department of Justice’s recommendations are adopted by agencies across the state so that all law enforcement officers are trained to use de-escalation tactics whenever possible and avoid using deadly force unless doing so is the only way to prevent death or serious bodily injury. It also ensures officers are held accountable when they fail to comply with these policies and kill someone when it wasn’t necessary.
# # #
The California Act to Save Lives is supported by the ACLU of California, Alliance for Boys and Men of Color/PolicyLink, Anti Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter – California, California Faculty Association, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), California Families United 4 Justice, PICO California, Silicon Valley DeBug, STOP Coalition, UDW America – AFSCME Local 3930, Youth Justice Coalition.