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deadly force in California

Last year, two police officers in Sacramento fatally shot Stephon Clark, 22. Mr. Clark was unarmed; it is an all too familiar scenario in this day and age. Unarmed people of color losing their lives to use of force is a regular occurrence.

People who follow deadly use of force cases know that police officers often escape punishment with little to no repercussions. Several lawmakers and civil rights activists would like to seek legislative changes to prevent future incidents. If the penalties are stricter, law enforcement officials are more likely to exercise greater caution when using force.

In February, we wrote about the subject of deadly force in California. We discussed California Assembly Bill 931, a shelved bill that would have changed the law as to when police officers could resort to lethal force. In the months since, lawmakers have been busy contemplating legislation that voters can get behind.

Currently, a homicide by an officer is justifiable if a felon is fleeing or resisting arrest, according to U.S. News & World Report. AB-392 Peace officers: deadly force would change the deadly force rules for law enforcement.

Use of Deadly Force by Police

There are instances when deadly force is justifiable. However, unarmed black and Latino men face deadly force unjustifiably, far too often. AB-392 would alter the circumstances under which a homicide by a peace officer is considered justifiable. Such as:

“when the killing is in self-defense or the defense of another, consistent with the existing legal standard for self-defense, or when the killing is necessary to prevent the escape of a fleeing felon whose immediate apprehension is necessary to prevent death or serious injury. The bill would additionally bar the use of this defense if the peace officer acted in a criminally negligent manner that caused the death, including if the officer’s criminally negligent actions created the necessity for the use of deadly force.” 

AB-392, like AB-931 before it, is receiving significant pushback from law enforcement associations, the article reports. Timothy Davis, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Association, believes the proposed legislation would create an “unobtainable standard” for when deadly force is justifiable.

This is a developing story.


Orange County Criminal Defense

Attorney Ronald G. Brower can advocate for you or a family member who is facing criminal charges. For more than 30 years, The Law Office Ronald G. Brower has help defendants achieve favorable outcomes for unfortunate situations. Please contact our office today to learn more about how we can help.

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