California remains one of five states that won’t strip badges from officers who commit crimes or misconduct, after an attempt to reform that failed to make the Assembly floor.
COVID-19 has not stopped the annual late August/early September rush of California state house bills that the Senate and Assembly attempt to cram through in the final 24 hours of the year’s legislative session. The big, urgent one was the pandemic eviction moratorium bill AB-3088, which did pass, and Newsom signed. But a lesser-noticed set of police reforms were up for votes too, and the most prominent of these failed. The Associated Press reports that SB-731, a bill that aimed to “disqualify a person from being employed as a peace officer” if found guilty of certain types of misconduct, failed to pass the state legislature.
According to the AP, as well as Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello as seen in the tweet above, California is one of only five states that will not automatically decertify officers found guilty of crimes. The others are Hawaii, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
Feel free to call @Evan_Low and urge him to vote yes on #SB731 to ensure we have a moderate safe police reform and ensure police officers are held accountable when they break the law. (408) 446-2810 https://t.co/URLggsNUrO— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) August 31, 2020
Even Kim Kardashian West interrupted her non-stop barrage of bullshit celebrity influencer marketing to endorse the bill and apply pressure to lawmakers. But her call-out of Assemblymember Evan Low would not even matter. According to the California legislature website, the bill did not even make the Assembly floor, and died in committee.
It’s pretty well-known that in California, a police officer who’s fired or resigns for misconduct reasons can just bounce to another community’s police department, essentially escaping career consequences. But the AP reports the bill “could not overcome vehement objections from law enforcement organizations that the proposed system is biased and lacks basic due process protections.”
A few other police reform bills did pass, though: a ban on police chokeholds was approved, a bill requiring the state attorney general to investigate every police shooting of an unarmed civilian also went through, and another bill requiring young people under 18 speak with an attorney before waiving their Miranda rights was also approved.
Each of those awaits Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature, and he’s said he would sign the chokehold ban.
Image: “Bad Lieutenant,” Aries Films