CA Legislature Must Pass SB 2 and AB 118!
California, along with the entire U.S., is in a moment of reckoning that the people tasked with protecting public safety are far too often those who are compromising it – and we must develop public safety solutions that do not involve police. Community-based organizations are demanding police accountability and are scaling-up emergency response programs as an alternative to police. The California legislature must meet the moment and pass SB 2: The Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act and AB 118: The C.R.I.S.E.S. Act this year!
SB 2 would increase accountability for law enforcement officers that commit serious misconduct and illegally violate a person’s civil rights. CA is one of only four states that have no mechanism for de-certifying cops!
The bill creates a fair and impartial statewide process to revoke the certification of a law enforcement
officer following the conviction of certain serious crimes or termination from employment due to misconduct. The bill would authorize the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) to revoke a certificate on specified grounds, as set forth in regulations by the Commission, with due process rights from an administrative law judge.
Finally, the bill strengthens California’s key civil rights law to prevent abuse from law enforcement and other civil rights violations.
California, like the federal system, relies on a system of private enforcement of civil rights, requiring robust civil rights laws to protect our cherished constitutional rights. The Tom Bane Civil Rights Act has become one of the most important California civil rights laws. Bane Act claims are included whenever constitutional or other rights are violated by government or private actors, from law enforcement use of excessive force or false arrest, to discrimination, deprivation of medical care in jails or state hospitals, wrongful seizures of property, or violations of voting rights.
The Bane Act provides a private right of action for damages against any person who “interferes,” or “attempts to interfere by threat, intimidation, or coercion,” with the exercise or enjoyment of rights under California or federal law. The Bane Act can apply to both public and private violations of rights.
Unfortunately, as the Bane Act has become more utilized, defendants have argued for restrictive court interpretations of the law, and many state and federal courts have issued decisions that greatly impair the reach and effectiveness of this important civil rights remedy. SB2 would restore the or reinforce the impact the law was meant to have.
AB 118 will establish the Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems (CRISES) Act pilot program, which will scale up community-based alternatives to police.
The CRISES Act pilot grant program, promoting community-based responses to local emergency situations, including, but not limited to:
- Public Health Crisis
- People Experiencing Homelessness
- Mental Health Crisis
- Intimate Partner Violence
- Community Violence
- Substance Use
- Natural Disasters
The pilot program will provide a minimum of $250,000 per organization/per year for the life of the grant
program. The pilot shall create and strengthen alternatives to law enforcement in response to crisis situations not related to or that do not require a Fire Department or Emergency Medical Service (EMS) response in communities where there is a history and pattern of racial profiling, law enforcement violence, gaps in law enforcement service or where vulnerable populations live
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