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Employment-Related, Public Safety Bills at A Glance: Excessive Force
AB 1022 (Holden D) Disqualifies from peace officer employment those who use excessive force or who fail to intercede; requires law enforcement policies to mandate immediate reporting of excessive force, no retaliation for whistleblowers, and same manner of discipline for both officers who use excessive force and those who fail to intercede; and creates a new Penal Code section making an officer who fails to intercede guilty as an accessory
Current law disqualifies a person from holding office as a peace officer if the person has been convicted of a felony, or found to be mentally incompetent, among other reasons. This bill would add the following reasons for disqualification: anyone who has been found by a law enforcement agency to have either used excessive force that resulted in great bodily injury or the death of a member of the public or to have failed to intercede in that incident.
Current law requires law enforcement agencies to have policies with several specific limits regarding the use of excessive force by January 1, 2021. This bill would require those policies to also include: immediate reporting for excessive force; for other officers who witness excessive force to intercede; prohibitions on retaliation for whistleblowers; use of the same manner of discipline for both officers who use excessive force and who fail to intercede as to another officer’s excessive force.
This bill would add a new Penal Code section making an officer, who fails to intercede in an excessive force incident, an accessory to the excessive force.
AB 1709 (Weber D) Adds definition of “necessary” in the current law that limits the use of deadly force; requires a peace officer to use de-escalation tactics, render medical aide immediately, and intervene to stop an officer’s use of excessive force or violation of law.
Under current law, a peace officer is justified in using deadly force upon another person only when the officer reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, that such force is necessary to defend against a threat of serious bodily injury/death, or to apprehend a person fleeing a felony that involved a threat of serious bodily injury/ death if the officer believes that the person will cause serious bodily injury/death to another unless immediately apprehended.
This bill would define “necessary [force]” to be a situation when, based on the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable officer in the same situation would conclude that there was no reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force that would prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or to another person. This bill would also require a peace officer to use de-escalation tactics, render medical aid immediately, and intervene to stop excessive force or a violation of law.