California Assembly passes police use-of-deadly-force bill
The California state Assembly passed legislation last week authored by San Diego Assembly member Shirley N. Weber and Sacramento Assembly member Kevin McCarty that would restrict the police use of deadly force statewide. AB 392 moved to the Senate on a 67-0 vote after law enforcement groups removed opposition and the bill gained the support of California Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
“[The] Assembly vote on AB 392 is proof positive that real change can happen. AB 392 will end preventable deaths and do so without jeopardizing the safety of law enforcement officers. It was long, hard work, but I am proud to be part of the effort with Assembly member Shirley Weber, law enforcement, victims’ families and others to find a path forward on use of force. I look forward to hearing AB 392 in the Senate,” Atkins said in a statement.
“Significant change is never easy, but those who voted today looked to their conscience and found the courage to do the right thing for California,” Weber said. “I have to thank the families who have lost loved ones to police violence. They have been the energy and the moral compass for making this possible.”
Cephus Johnson, an executive board officer for Families United 4 Justice, said the bill is a step in the right direction for preventing future deaths. His nephew, who was killed by Bay Area Rapid Transit police in 2009, was the subject of the film “Fruitvale Station.”
“As an impacted family member and the uncle of Oscar Grant, there is no horror comparable to the excessive use of force by the police that takes your loved one’s life. This horror is forever etched into your memory, perhaps, because it could have been prevented,” he said. “AB 392’s goal is protecting human life and safeguarding human rights.”
San Diego Organizing Project, a federation of 28 faith congregations, also supported the bill.
“For San Diego and communities across the state, California’s Act to Save Lives is a beacon of hope in a time of moral crisis. I’m overjoyed at the Assembly’s vote this afternoon to advance AB 392 and look forward to it becoming law,” Jeffrey Karahamuheto, of the nonpartisan organization, said. “I’m especially pleased to see that law enforcement withdrew its opposition to this sensible bill.”
AB 392 will change the standard under which officers use deadly force. AB 392 will require that officers use deadly force only when there is an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others. The bill will expand the use of de-escalation and other non-lethal policing strategies by making clear that officers must use other resources and techniques, whenever safe and feasible. These changes will be reflected in both law enforcement agency policy and officer training statewide. Officers who violate the new standard will be subject to prosecution.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Councilmember Chris Ward honored for leadership in affordable housing
The San Diego Housing Federation (SDHF) held its 29th annual Ruby Awards at the US Grant Hotel on May 16. The Ruby Awards Dinner is held annually to recognize extraordinary achievements in affordable housing development, community development, public policy, and housing advocacy.
One of SDHF’s signature events, the Ruby Awards is the county’s largest affordable housing community recognition event and honors the best people, projects and achievements of the past year. Hundreds of housing and community leaders from across the region and around the state were on hand to applaud winners in more than a dozen categories and acknowledge the achievements of their peers.
Winners in 12 categories — including Project of the Year, Outstanding Resident Leader, and Outstanding Advocate — were selected by a cross-disciplinary jury while the Housing Champion was again selected by the SDHF board of directors.
The Ruby Award for Outstanding Government Agency or Elected Official went to Councilmember Chris Ward. Ward spearheaded a variety of efforts to significantly expand affordable and supportive housing in the city of San Diego, including the affordable/supportive housing bond measure that will now be on the 2020 ballot. Councilmember Ward was instrumental in ensuring that over $30 million in Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) funds will be effectively invested in homeless programs and services across the region. He was given the award for being consistently passionate in this work and tirelessly championing policy efforts, as well as funding and resources, for desperately needed housing in San Diego.