Police Help Defeat California Bill On Removing Problem Cops
Speaker 1: 00:00 In spite of unprecedented public support for police reform measures. After the death of George Floyd, California legislators failed to pass a majority of the police reform bills up for a vote this week here to explain what happened and why is Anita [inaudible], who covers California state politics and policy for the Los Angeles times and Nita, welcome to the program. Thanks for having me on Alison. So you've watched the debate over these bills over the months since police killed George Floyd, were you surprised at how few reform measures passed this week? Speaker 2: 00:30 I was actually not surprised because for the past few weeks, we've really seen a falloff in attention around police reforms at the Capitol. And we knew a lot of these bills were struggling to get the votes that they need it. So Speaker 1: 00:44 A measure to ban the use of the controversial carotid chokehold by police did pass. And that was something that the San Diego law enforcement agencies agreed to very shortly after George Floyd's death. But beyond that, what new measures did California lawmakers pass? Speaker 2: 00:59 That was one of the major ones. Quite honestly, there was also a measure passed that will allow the AIG to be involved in more police investigations, though. It does not require that oversight. And there was a measure that passed that provide some accountability for sheriffs that sets up a clarity around what kinds of citizens commissions can be set up to oversee Sheriff's office with subpoena power. Those were some of the bigger ones that passed, but again, they're really modest reforms that aren't as far reaching as some of the ones that did not make it. One of them, Speaker 1: 01:34 The bills that failed was a bill by San Diego assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, that would have limited the use of rubber bullets and other less than lethal weapons. Uh, but what other proposed reforms failed? Speaker 2: 01:45 There were really two major proposed reforms that failed at the last minute. The first was a measure that would have helped take badges away from cops who engage in misconduct. That was SB seven 31. And the other was an expansion of what personnel records are available to the public for officers who engage in misconduct that was SB seven 76. And it also didn't make it out on the last day. Speaker 1: 02:08 There's a range of opinions on what caused those bills to fail. So talk to me about, about what happened, Speaker 2: 02:13 You know, I think it was more than one thing. Those two measures in particular about decertification and the expansion of access to records were opposed by many of the police unions and that absolutely played into it. They have spent weeks and weeks working, especially on some of the more moderate legislators saying, you know, this is a crazy session. It's already shortened, we're rushing this legislation through. Let's just wait until next year and be more thoughtful about it. And I think that message really resonated with a lot of legislators, but then we also got to this crazy last day where the Republicans were being forced to vote remotely. They ran out of, there were technology problems, tempers flared, and there simply wasn't enough time to vote on all of the things that they wanted to vote on. So I think a couple of different things played into why these bills failed. Speaker 1: 03:12 And what would you say would be the next step? I mean, which measures look like the King closest to passing and which have the most opposition. Speaker 2: 03:19 I think you're going to see all of these reforms come back up next year. I don't think that there is going to be a loss of appetite by the legislators who carried them to do that or by the public. I think that, especially when it comes to decertification, the police unions understand that it's likely going to happen and they are on board with it. They were very unhappy with the bill that was up this year because it included a commission that would have put on that commission, families of victims, of police violence and opened the door to put on organizations like black lives matter. And other activists who have worked in the police reform area. And they felt that that was biased against them. So I think that they will be open to decertification next year, but that's where they'll try to hold. The line is on, on who gets to decide when a badge is taken away. So I think that will be the fight next year. And I think you'll see Nancy Skinner the author of the records bill, come back again with something very similar and likely we will address rubber bullets again as well. Speaker 1: 04:24 It's worth noting that San Diego voters will have a chance to weigh in before then on in the November ballot, because there's a significant reform proposal that would form an independent police oversight board that would be required to investigate all deaths where police officers were involved in all shootings by officers. And it would have the power to subpoena witnesses. It could also perform additional investigations into complaints against officers. So that's going to be on the San Diego November ballot, and we will keep an eye on what happens in Sacramento. We've been speaking with a Neato Shabrea who covers California state politics for the LA times. And Anita, thank you so much. Thank you for having me on.