SACRAMENTO – Today, the California Assembly voted to pass Assembly Bill 392: The California Act to Save Lives, critical legislation that will change the use of force standard in California to a “necessary” standard to reduce the number of police shootings. If passed and signed into law, AB 392 will transform California from a state with one of the most permissive use of force laws, to a state with one of the most protective laws in the country.
“My son might be alive today if this law had already been in place. It’s been a long time coming since 1872,” said Alice Corley, the mother of Lionel Gibson Jr., who was killed by Long Beach police officers in 2016.
The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), will update California’s outdated use of force standard to require that police officers avoid using deadly force when there are other options. The bill will also help ensure officers are held accountable when they fail to comply with this new standard.
The family of Stephon Clark, who was shot and killed by Sacramento police officers in 2018, jointly stated, “The Thompson family supports AB 392, a step towards accountability for Stephon Clark and all California Families United 4 Justice.”
Changing the use of force standard in California will change the way officers are trained to pursue other, non-deadly, resources or techniques when engaging with the public. In cities with stricter use of force policies, police kill fewer people without any negative impact on law enforcement or community safety. Seattle, for example, saw a reduction in the number of use of force incidents after adopting a use of force standard like the one in AB 392, without seeing any negative impact on public or police safety. San Francisco also saw similar declines in use of force incidents. The San Francisco Police Department hasn’t shot anyone in almost a year after adopting its change in policy.
"Californians have made it clear today and every day, it's time to change the police use of force standard and to stop police from killing our loved ones,” said Jesse Rodriguez, uncle of James De La Rosa. “We will continue to fight for justice for our families and communities of color to end police terror."
For far too long, California has ignored the problem of police shootings, and the disproportionate killings of Black and Latino Californians and people with disabilities. AB 392 finally addresses this problem head on – with solutions we know work. If passed, California would become the only state to combine a “necessary standard” with the requirement that courts consider an officer’s conduct leading up to a use of deadly force when determining the legality of the officer’s actions.
"We believe that AB 392 is a step in the right direction and want to thank Assemblywoman Weber, the Governor and his leadership, and all those who supported this bill,” said Cephus “Uncle Bobby X” Johnson, founder of California Families United 4 Justice and uncle of Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by BART Police Officers in 2009.
With the full support of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, and Governor Gavin Newsom, AB 392 now heads to the California Senate for approval.
“I support AB 392. It’s too late for my brother. But it’s not too late to spare other families from experiencing what my family and others like mine have endured,” said Jennie Ruiz, sister of Charlie Salinas, who was killed by Sanger Police Department officers in 2012. “We demand accountability and transparency from California police officers. Pass AB 392!”
AB 392 is sponsored by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color/PolicyLink, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), California Families United 4 Justice, PICO California, STOP Coalition, United Domestic Workers (UDW), AFSCME Local 3930, Youth Justice Coalition.