California Mother Whose Son was Killed by Police Applauds Committee Approval of Bill to Open Police Records

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SACRAMENTO – Today, the Assembly Committee on Appropriations advanced legislation to open law enforcement misconduct and use of force records in California. SB 1421, introduced by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), will make public information about confirmed cases of misconduct – including sexual assault and job-related dishonesty – and serious uses of force by peace officers in California.

Leticia De La Rosa, whose unarmed son, James De La Rosa, was shot and killed by Bakersfield Police Officers, issued the following statement in response:

My son James loved his family and community. He was the peacemaker in our family and in his school. When he saw conflict, he would bring everyone together to work things out. He should be alive today.

James was only 22 years old when he was shot and killed by Bakersfield Police officers on November 13, 2014.

When he was killed, no one called to let us know. My older son’s friend saw James’s Jeep on the news and called because he was worried. My family and I rushed to the scene. But we got no answers from the police, only orders to leave. Then we rushed to the hospital and waited hours until a coroner confirmed my worst fear: my son was dead.

One of the officers who was involved in James’s shooting has reportedly also been involved in seven other shootings, while another officer has reportedly been involved in another killing. Yet state law shields their records and families like mine rarely get answers to the questions we ask. All we get is secrecy.

This must stop. I will continue to honor my son and be his voice to demand justice for all families who have lost someone to police violence. I thank Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and call on the rest of the legislature and Governor Brown to join me and make SB 1421 state law.

SB 1421 now heads to the Assembly floor for a vote. The bill is sponsored by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter California, California Faculty Association, California News Publishers Association, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, PICO California, PolicyLink, and Youth Justice Coalition LA.

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