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California Gov. Newsom Signs Law To Limit Shootings By Police And More Local News

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California is changing the standards for when police can use lethal force under a law signed Monday that seeks to reduce officer-involved shootings. Plus, KPBS takes a look at a new analysis of police shootings released by the D.A. Also, an appeals court found more than 4,000 illegal immigration convictions were improper. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will soon be raising its fares and the Coaster commuter in the North County gets a new shuttle service.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 It's Tuesday, August 20th I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters from KPBS coming up. California is changing the standards for when police can use lethal force under a new law, and the federal court recently tossed out thousands of illegal immigration convictions

Speaker 2: 00:18 that, you know, just because we want to shove these people through the system, we don't, we don't cut corners in the criminal justice system. You just don't do that.

Speaker 1: 00:24 That and more San Diego news stories coming up right after the break. Thank you for joining us for San Diego News Matters. I'm Deb Welch. Governor Gavin Newsome is signed to bill that raises California's legal standard for when police can use deadly force as capital public radio has been Adler reports. Last year's death of an unarmed black man in Sacramento helped the bill pass after previous failures.

Speaker 3: 00:53 The law was sparked by last year's Sacramento police shooting of Stephon Clark in his grandmother's backyard. Officers thought he was holding a gun, but in fact it was a cell phone. Democratic Assembly woman Shirley Weber says she hopes her bill addresses the different kind of justice apply to Americans of color.

Speaker 4: 01:09 After 400 years of demonstrating our commitment and our humanity to this nation, we deserve fairness and justice.

Speaker 3: 01:17 Law Enforcement Groups move to neutral on this bill. After more than a year of negotiations, they're praising a separate measure that's part of the deal and creates new training standards for officers. The new law raises California's use of force standard from reasonable to necessary. It takes effect in January at the state capitol. I'm Ben Adler.

Speaker 1: 01:34 The cost of a single bus ride in San Diego will be going up next month. KPBS Metro reporter Andrew Bowen says, the Metropolitan Transit System is trying to close a budget deficit.

Speaker 4: 01:45 Come September 1st at bus ride will cost two 50 instead of two 25 and a standard day pass will cost $6 instead of five mts spokesman Rob [inaudible] says the agency hasn't had a fair increase in nearly 10 years and over that time, operating costs have gone up by almost 25%

Speaker 2: 02:04 we only have two choices really. One is to either raise fairs or to reduce service, and all of the polling that we've done with our riders, they would much prefer a small increase in fairs. Then for us to reduce service.

Speaker 4: 02:17 MTS is also raising the cost of a discounted monthly pass for seniors and people with disabilities from 18 to $23 the cost of a monthly youth pass will drop from $36 to 23 Andrew Bowen, KPBS news,

Speaker 1: 02:32 commuters to and from Carlsbad that use the coaster train. Now I have a quick and easy way to bridge the gap between the poinsettia station and the rest of the city. KPBS reporter John Carroll says the new Carlsbad Connector shuttle began service on Monday.

Speaker 3: 02:48 Like any rail or bus mass transit system, riders of the coaster commuter train of faced the challenge of what's called first mile last mile, how to get from the station to your or destination and vice versa. The fleet of five Carlsbad connectors. Shuttle buses are meant to solve that problem. Carlsbad city council member, Corey Schumacher.

Speaker 1: 03:09 We want folks to be able to get from the coaster to their place of work to um, leisure spots within our cities without having to use their car.

Speaker 3: 03:17 The connector is app based at works just like Uber and Lyft coaster riders who have monthly or daily passes can ride the connector for free or it'll cost you two 50 for a one way trip. John Carroll k PBS news

Speaker 1: 03:32 advocates credit at the San Diego District Attorney's Office for its in depth report last week on police officer involved shootings in San Diego County over the past 25 years but they hope the report will actually lead to change. KPBS reporter Claire Her says the district attorney is now calling for more police training on dealing with mental health issues. The DA's report found 40% of the shootings involved a white officer and a non white suspect. Black people make up just 5% of San Diego County's population, yet 19% of the people shot by police were black. The report did not factor in the disparity which district attorney summer. Stephan acknowledged in an interview with KPBS,

Speaker 5: 04:16 but what is really interesting about having the data speak for itself is you see that a non white officers and white officers shot at a higher rate, non white people.

Speaker 1: 04:32 Darwin fishermen, a professor at San Diego State says he hopes the report leads to action.

Speaker 6: 04:38 Most all the changes, the district attorney and the police. Unfortunately you've had to drag them screaming and kicking and I think that uh, they will probably be happy with just releasing this and that if we want any substantial changes with practices that we'll have to really push harder.

Speaker 1: 04:54 Stephan says the report showed the dire need for more police training on how to work with people on drugs or with mental health issues. She says that will happen in the form of an eight hour training for police departments. Claire Treg, Sir KPBS News. Last year, the US attorney's office began criminally charging thousands of people crossing the border illegally in July, a federal court found that over 4,000 of those convictions were improper and should be tossed out in court. KPBS reporter Max Revlon Adler looks into the decisions that led up to this disastrous outcome for the US attorney's office in the southern district of California.

Speaker 3: 05:34 It was may of last year when then u s Attorney General Jeff sessions came to the border wall here in Santa CGO to announce the Department of Justice's new zero tolerance policy.

Speaker 6: 05:45 If you crossed the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It's that simple.

Speaker 3: 05:51 Previously, the US Attorney's office had not made much of a priority of prosecuting misdemeanor illegal entry by the time of sessons announcement. However, prosecutions for illegal entry had already begun to climb in the district, overwhelming the courts in nearby federal jails with people who had previously been quickly turned over to the custody of immigration and customs enforcement. It was then that the chief judge and the district finally allowed for the creation of operation streamline, a fast track prosecution program that aims to arraign convict and sentenced border crossers in a matter of minutes. So starting last July, some people caught illegally crossing the border. We're brought to a converted garage beneath the federal building to meet with their attorneys before being brought to a courtroom to plead guilty and mass to misdemeanor illegal entry. At first, prosecutors were charging upwards of 50 people a day, but last month the ninth circuit ruled that almost all of the prosecutions during the first year of the program were improper prosecutors. The court found had charged individuals under the wrong statute. Chuck Labella is a former US attorney in the district who's now in private practice.

Speaker 7: 07:00 I sympathize with the prosecutors. I sympathize with what they're up they're up against and what they're being asked to do. But you've got to, you've got to fly, right, that you know, just because we want to shove these people through the system. We don't, we don't cut corners in the criminal justice system. You just don't do that.

Speaker 3: 07:16 The mistake that prosecutors had made according to the ninth circuit was that they charged misdemeanor illegal entry under a subsection meant to only apply to people who alluded inspection at ports of entry, not between them. The vast majority of people caught crossing the border. Do so by hopping over a border fence or crossing through the desert. TheU s attorney's Office did not respond to repeated requests for comment for the story. A source close to the office, however, tells KPBS that the decision to charge under the wrong law was made by prosecutors concerned about defendants arguing that because they were being watched by border patrol agents when they crossed the border, they didn't actually allude inspection proving that a border crosser wasn't being watched generally requires border patrol agents and other officials to testify using the other section of the law. They wouldn't have to prove that Ruben Camper Khan was the executive director of the federal defenders of San Diego until shortly after operation streamline was installed in the district last summer. He believes this charging decision is one of the many ways prosecutors have tried to deprive immigrants of their right to a fair shot at justice.

Speaker 8: 08:23 You know, if there's anything that would be more exemplary of a denial of due process and denying somebody the substantive defense that the law allows you, I can't think of it.

Speaker 3: 08:34 Over the past year, more than 4,000 people were charged in properly. According to the ninth circuit's decision for over 400 immigrants convicted under the wrong subsection who are now appealing their cases for charges can most likely be quickly dropped after a request by their lawyer for the thousands who have not appealed their cases. The Path ahead is much more complicated because they've been deported today. Operation Streamline has slowed down considerably and operates at nowhere near the prosecution rates once envisioned by former attorney general Jeff sessions. But the impact of these decisions by both officials in Washington and prosecutors in San Diego will leave a mark on the u s attorney's office says former office chief labella.

Speaker 7: 09:15 It's a blemish on law enforcement when a court of appeals reverses saying you're using the wrong statute and you're using the wrong statute because it's easier rather than it's the right statute. Um, yeah, it's an embarrassment for law enforcement.

Speaker 3: 09:28 The US Attorney's office has until September 6th to appeal the ninth circuit's decision. Max Riverland, Adler k PBS news.

Speaker 1: 09:36 Thanks for listening to San Diego News matters. If you like the show, do us a favor and tell your friends and family to subscribe to the show.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.