The use of force is a topic of discussion that we need to have in the United States. Each year, many unarmed individuals die from interactions with peace officers. A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about California Assembly Bill 392. The bill, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, redefines the circumstances under which a homicide by a peace officer is deemed justifiable.
As we pointed out, AB 392 takes effect on January 2020. While lawmakers and pundits across the state were focused on the landmark bill, another piece of legislation was quietly in the works.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, wrote a bill that would increase oversight of sheriffs departments in California, The Sacramento Bee reports. Assembly Bill 1185 would allow counties to create separate supervision bodies to oversee sheriffs’ departments.
“Because of the current lack of oversight, we’ve seen taxpayers foot the bill for millions of dollars as a result of legal fees racked up due to allegations of misconduct against deputies, jailers, and sheriff’s department employees,” said McCarty. “There have been countless examples all over the state that have demonstrated how important it is that we ensure that supervisors, sheriff oversight boards, and the inspector general have the authority necessary to conduct proper oversight so they can do their jobs.”
Advocacy Groups Support AB 1185
The California State Sheriffs’ Association has called the bill “unnecessary,” according to the article. However, the American Civil Liberties Union of California pointed out that the “Misuse of (sheriffs departments) can lead to grave constitutional violations, harms to liberty and the inherent sanctity of human life, and significant public unrest.”
AB 1185 came about after Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones arrested Inspector General Rick Braziel last year in the course of investigating a police shooting in 2017. The Sacramento County Grand Jury determined that Sheriff Jones was within his rights when he slowed Braziel’s work.
However, the grand jury wrote that Sacramento county has to put in place a system for preventing sheriffs’ departments from halting similar investigations. McCarty’s bill aims to do just that; we will continue to follow this story as it develops.
Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
Please reach out to The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower if you are facing criminal charges in California. Attorney Brower has a reputation for helping clients find favorable outcomes in their cases. With more than three decades of experience, Mr. Brower is an excellent choice for anyone needing legal representation.