Many police officers, especially those assigned to patrol high-crime areas, often find themselves in dangerous situations daily and it is during these times that they must make split-second decisions to protect their lives and those of any bystanders nearby. Sometimes, these decisions involve an officer having to get physical with a suspect in an effort to gain control over a situation, while other times, they resort to deadly force. Although police officers should never use deadly force against a suspect, that is, unless they believe it is reasonable to do so, many do rather than employ tactics to de-escalate a situation.
It is for this reason and many others that California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed a new bill into law, AB 392, with an effective date of January 1, 2020 that will “modify the conditions under which a police officer can legally use deadly force from times when it is “reasonable” to when it is “necessary” [Source: USA Today]. Although one could argue that the “difference between the two is minimal, legal experts say the spirit of the measure—encouraging de-escalation and crisis-intervention methods—clearly attempts to induce greater restraints from officers, likely making it the strictest such law in the land.”
The new bill has received some push back, however, many agree it is one step in the right direction to decreasing the number of innocent people being killed by cops. Back in 2018, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was gunned down by Sacramento police officers after they “mistook his cell phone for a firearm.” Clark was only one of the 146 who was killed in 2018 by the hands of a CA police officer.
Too many individuals, particularly black males, are being killed by CA police officers who are merely reacting out of fear and not handling the situation according to how the law intended them to. Essentially, what this means is that police officers aren’t applying deadly force because it is a reasonable means of defense. They are resorting to deadly force as their first method of resolving a matter rather than taking the initiative to de-escalate a situation, which is what AB392 is pushing for.
What are the pros and cons of AB 392?
With every new law comes benefits and drawbacks. While lawmakers hope that the new law will encourage officers to turn to de-escalation methods during an encounter with a suspect rather than take a person’s life, the wording of AB 392 still has many feeling uneasy as to how effective it is going to be. Still, lawmakers believe it could lead to officers facing harsher penalties when they apply deadly force rather than find an alternative solution to getting an encounter under control. But, until a case makes its way through the court system after the new law takes effect, we don’t know how it is going to be interpreted by the prosecutors, judges, and juries assigned to these cases.
If a loved one of yours was involved in a police shooting in or nearby to San Diego, CA and you wish to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf, the police brutality attorneys at The Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth are here to help you with this.
You can reach The Law Offices of Bruce S. Meth at:
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San Diego, CA 92108
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