by Youth ALIVE! | 4.27.19
With the aim of preserving the lives of both officers and civilians, AB 392 will update California’s use of force standard to reflect the best practices of policing by authorizing deadly force only when necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury
California’s law governing when a homicide by an officer is “justified” was written in 1872, and not only fails to include best practices but authorizes deadly force that would violate the U.S. constitution.
Under current law, police can use deadly force whenever an “objectively reasonable” officer would have done so under the same circumstances – regardless of whether there was an immediate threat to life or bodily security, or whether there were available alternatives. This standard provides legal cover for killings that can be justified under the law, but were not necessary.
Incorporating policing best practices, AB 392 authorizes police officers to use deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death – that is, if, given the totality of the circumstances, there was no reasonable alternative to using deadly force, including warnings, verbal persuasion, or other nonlethal methods of resolution or de-escalation.
If AB 392 becomes law, police departments can discipline or fire officers who use deadly force that is unnecessary, and in cases where the use of force was not in self-defense or in defense of another person, local District Attorneys could file criminal charges.
Written by Youth ALIVE!
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