Friday, May 24, 2019

AB 392 Amended to Remove Unconstitutional Definition of Necessary

On May 23, 2019, Dr. Weber amended A.B. 392 to remove the provisions greatest concern to law enforcement.  For the last year, we’ve been working on behalf of PORAC with legislators, the ACLU, experts and stakeholders from around the state to develop comprehensive legislation to minimize the use of force in California.  As a result, informed and thoughtful amendments were made to both SB 230 and AB 392 to resolve conflicts and create a unified solution that all Californians can champion proudly. Together, AB 392 and SB 230 create a legislative package that will do more than any other state legislation to achieve better outcomes and minimize the use of force in our communities.

Law enforcement appreciates Dr. Weber and the ACLU's agreement to remove the definition of “necessary” that required officers to exhaust all reasonable alternatives before using deadly force and eroded an officer’s right to self-defense. Under the Bill, force is necessary if it is objectively reasonable under the totality of the circumstance.  The amendments also restore the longstanding principle that an officer attempting to make an arrest need not retreat or desist from their efforts or lose their right of self-defense in the face of resistance so long as the force used is objectively reasonable.  The amendments also eliminate the attempted criminalization of tactical mistakes occurring prior to the encounter.  As a result of the amendments, law enforcement’s concerns regarding the original AB 392 language have been addressed.

The newly amended AB 392 will strengthen the state’s current standard for authorizing the use of force.  SB 230 provides officers with the tools and training they need to implement the updated legal standard put forth by AB 392, including de-escalation tactics, interacting with vulnerable populations and alternatives to use of force. The best public policies are not made in a vacuum; law enforcement worked with all stakeholders to develop an effective solutions that protect all Californians.  This precedent-setting legislative package will make California a national leader in protecting our communities and our officers as they uphold their commitment to serve and protect.