Lawmakers draft bill to reduce law enforcement use of lethal force
FRESNO, Calif. —
State lawmakers are proposing a bill that would limit the amount of times law enforcement officers are able to use lethal force to avoid instances like these.
The Peace Officers Research Association says in 2018 114 people died in an officer involved shooting in the state of California.
Assembly Bill 392 drawn up by democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber of San Diego calls for the use of "...deadly force only when it is necessary to prevent imminent and serious bodily injury or death. "This mean that they may use force only is there is no reasonable alternative including, warnings verbal persuasion or other non-lethal methods of resolution or de-escalation," said Weber.
However, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says in some scenarios there isn’t enough time for that.
"Unfortunately, usually it's not the law enforcement officers actions that dictate the reactions it's the actions on the part of the person that they're talking to or trying to stop or in fact maybe chasing so they have to make a decision based on the circumstances right at that particular second," said Mims.
The bill states the consequences for “unnecessary deadly force" is for police officers to be disciplined or fired.
And when lethal force is not used for self-defense or in defense of another, the district attorneys can file criminal charges.
"99 percent of the time we know law enforcement officers do not cross the line with regards to excessive force but when the one percent happens we all deserve accountability and under current law police accountability rarely happens," said Assemblymen Kevin McCarty from Sacramento.
"I will say that I'm sure in the past there might have been mistakes made but that doesn't mean that you change the whole standard that has stood the test of time for those acting in a reasonable manner," said Mims.
The policy now is officers can use deadly force when they have a reasonable fear of being harmed.
Sheriff Mims says if that standard changes policing won't be proactive.
"After the fact if it was found not to be necessary when at the time they thought it was necessary that's going to scare some law enforcement officers away from protecting themselves or someone else," said Mims.
And there is an opposing bill drafted by senator "anna caballero" that aims to implement more law enforcement training to reduce officer involved shootings.