Governor Brown Signs Landmark Police Reform Legislation Sponsored by ACLU of California

California will soon make police misconduct records available to the public and ensure police departments release of body camera footage of police shootings

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SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1421 (Skinner) and Assembly Bill 748 (Ting), historic police reform legislation sponsored by the ACLU of California.

Peter Bibring, Director of Police Practices for the ACLU of California, responded with the following statement:

We, as a society, confer on law enforcement the unparalleled powers to stop, arrest and use force on people, including deadly force. Unfortunately, over the years, we the people have been stripped of the power to oversee and hold law enforcement accountable for their use – and abuse – of these powers. All too often, we are left in the dark, even as we gain a greater awareness of systemic problems with policing that remain rooted in oppression and racism.

Today, we stand with communities that have demanded transparency, accountability and justice in the face of widespread police violence and misconduct and applaud Governor Brown for signing SB 1421 and AB 748. We are, however, disappointed that Governor Brown vetoed AB 3131 (Gloria/Chiu), a measure that would have required law enforcement agencies to publish guidelines for the use of military equipment, and given Californians valuable information about how, where, and why that equipment is deployed in our neighborhoods.

Together, SB 1421 and AB 748 will shine a much-needed light on police violence and abuse. Specifically, SB 1421 restores the public’s right to know how departments investigate and hold accountable those officers who abuse their power to frame, sexually assault, or kill members of the public. AB 748 will ensure law enforcement agencies throughout the state release police recordings of serious uses of force, including body camera footage, which are valuable tools for civilian oversight at a time of growing concern with police violence.

There is no doubt these two bills will significantly transform policing in California and help address the current crisis in policing which has led to the deaths of far too many people – largely in Black and brown communities.

Having an open government that is accountable to the people it serves is not merely an ideal to strive for, it is a necessity to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our families and communities. Nowhere is that more apparent than in policing. We look forward to working with our partners to ensure the successful implementation of SB 1421 and AB 748, and continue in our relentless pursuit to achieve racial justice and empower Californians to have a greater say in how their neighborhoods are policed.

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