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AB 958 – Prohibits Law Enforcement “Gangs”
Assembly Bill 958 is intended to tackle the issue of “gangs” among peace officers that might undermine the professional standards of policing among California’s law enforcement agencies.
The bill defines a “law enforcement gang” as a group of peace officers within a law enforcement agency who identify themselves by a name or association with an identifying symbol, such as matching tattoos, and who engage in a pattern of on-duty behavior that intentionally violates the law or fundamental principles of policing. Such conduct might include any of the following:
- Excluding, harassing, or discriminating against an individual based on a legally protected category;
- Engaging in or promoting conduct that violates the rights of other employees or members of the public;
- Violating agency policy;
- The persistent practice of unlawful detention or use of excessive force in circumstances where it is known to be unjustified;
- Falsifying police reports;
- Fabricating or destroying evidence;
- Targeting persons for enforcement based solely on legally protected characteristics;
- Unauthorized use of alcohol or drugs on duty;
- Unlawful or unauthorized protection of other members from disciplinary actions; or
- Retaliation against other officers who threaten or interfere with the activities of the group.
AB 958 requires law enforcement agencies to maintain a policy that prohibits participation in a law enforcement gang and makes violation of that policy grounds for termination. It also requires local agencies to cooperate in any investigation into law enforcement gangs by the Attorney General, an inspector general, or any other authorized agency. Moreover, except as specifically prohibited by law, AB 958 requires law enforcement agencies to disclose the termination of a peace officer for participation in a law enforcement gang to any other law enforcement agency conducting a pre-employment background investigation of that officer.
(AB 958 adds Section 13670 to the Penal Code.)