California attorney general backs study of police shootings

(Los Angeles Times)

Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra is backing new legislation that would lead to an analysis of police shootings across California.

The measure, Assembly Bill 284 from Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), authorizes Becerra’s office to examine the circumstances, policies, training and oversight involved in police shootings that resulted in deaths or serious injuries. The attorney general would look at shootings between 2015 and 2016 and issue a report by July 2019.

“We must proactively do what we can to achieve safer outcomes and reduce the likelihood of future incidents,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.

The bill is substantially weaker than the one McCarty had originally proposed, which aimed to expand Becerra’s authority to criminally investigate police shootings. McCarty’s initial bill passed the Assembly last month, but Becerra didn’t take a position on it. Lawmakers didn’t allocate the $10 million in the state budget that Becerra said he would have needed to hire investigators. After that decision, McCarty said his bill was done for the year.

McCarty said that despite pushing for more state involvement in police shooting investigations, he was pleased Becerra was engaged.

“People want the change tomorrow,” McCarty said. “And it’s not going to happen tomorrow. This sets up a process where a year or so down the road we could potentially come back with a significant reform ready to pass into law.”

Some initial supporters of the bill aren’t happy. A coalition of civil rights organizations, including chapters of the NAACP and Jewish Federation, plans to protest the bill’s changes after the bill’s hearing in the Senate Public Safety Committee Tuesday morning, said the Rev. Jonathan Moseley, vice president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network.

“They totally gutted the bill,” Moseley said.

AB 284 will take effect only if the Legislature adds money to Becerra’s budget to fund the study. Becerra’s office said a cost analysis of the measure will be done this week and the office would support the funding request.

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) received permission to take the measure up on another day if she can muster the votes. (Nick Ut / Associated Press) Protesters outside Rep. Steve Knight’s office. Senate Bill 2 from Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) would add a $75 fee to real estate transactions, such as mortgage refinances, to fund state housing subsidies. (Screenshot)

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