Drastic AB 392 Amendments Means Focus Shift

By Shaun Rundle, Deputy Director. 

Prior to the May 31st deadline for bills to be heard in their house of origin, Asm. Shirley Weber’s AB 392 was dramatically altered. The new version, which allowed CPOA and our partners to go neutral on the bill means that our advocacy efforts can now be focused on legislation that threatens the future of effective policing and crime reduction.

After law enforcement intensively lobbied against the bill, and with pressure from the Governor and legislative leadership, Dr. Weber altered the bill to strip it of a “necessary” use of force standard that CPOA and our public safety partners felt was dangerous and unprecedented. It attempted to change Penal Code Section 196 to say use force resulting in homicide was ‘necessary’ to prevent escape. The definition of ‘necessary,’ however, outlined that a reasonable officer in the same situation would conclude that there was no reasonable alternative to use of deadly force. In our opinion, that directly challenged current legal standards, as set forth by cases like the U.S. Supreme Court case Graham v. Connor, which found that an officer’s objectively reasonable actions regarding deadly force are justified. Quite simply, you couldn’t train to that standard.

The bill heard on the Assembly floor before the May 31st deadline for passage reflected a much more workable standard for law enforcement. It simply codifies the Graham v. Connor standard to say that an officer may use objectively reasonable force to effect an arrest, prevent escape or overcome resistance. When these changes were made, CPOA joined our law enforcement partners in taking a ‘neutral’ stance on the bill, meaning we could live it, but were not going to support legislation that we felt further added to the misperception about deadly force application. The bill in this form passed the Assembly and awaits hearing it the Senate. Conversely, SB 230 (Caballero), which serves as the training and policy bill related to use of force, passed the Senate and now will now be heard in the Assembly.

Our focus then, turns to other bills that would pose a signification threat the public safety operations in California. Here are examples of some of the bills I will be lobbying over the next few months:

AB 516 (Chiu-D) Authority to remove vehicles.

This bill would delete the authority of a peace officer or public employee, as appropriate, to remove or immobilize a vehicle found upon a highway or public lands and it is known to have been issued 5 or more notices of parking violations that are delinquent because the owner or person in control of the vehicle has not responded to the appropriate agency within a designated time period.

Position: Oppose

AB 1215 (Ting-D) Law enforcement: facial recognition and other biometric surveillance.

Would prohibit a law enforcement agency or law enforcement official from installing, activating, or using any biometric surveillance system in connection with an officer camera or data collected by an officer camera. The bill would authorize a person to bring an action for equitable or declaratory relief against a law enforcement agency or official who violates that prohibition.

Position: Oppose

SB 136 (Wiener-D) Sentencing.

Current law imposes an additional one-year term for each prior separate prison term or county jail felony term, except under specified circumstances. This bill would delete the provision that requires an additional one-year term.

Status: Passed Senate, now awaiting hearing in the Assembly

Position: Oppose

SB 625 (Hill-D) Party buses: cannabis.

Current law prohibits a passenger in a motor vehicle being driven upon a highway from drinking any alcoholic beverage or smoking or ingesting any cannabis product. Current law exempts passengers in any bus, taxicab, or limousine, as specified, from this prohibition. This bill would instead exempt the ingestion of cannabis products by a passenger in bus, taxicab, or limousine only if there are no passengers under 21 years of age present and the driver is sealed off from the passenger compartment, as specified.

Position: Oppose