Last week, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved Assembly Bill 958, authored by Chair of the Select Committee on Police Reform, Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson). AB 958 seeks to ban police gangs in every law enforcement agency in California and will make an officer’s participation in a police gang grounds for termination.
“These are groups who celebrate excessive force, resist reforms, and discriminate and retaliate against other officers,” said Assemblymember Gipson. “How can we expect an officer to uphold the public safety of our communities when that officer is pressured within their own department to join a police gang? It doesn’t matter whether you are a Crip, Blood, Executioner, or Bandito – we must ensure that any individuals participating in criminal activities are held accountable to the full extent of the law.”
AB 958 aims to get to the root of an issue that has existed for nearly five decades. In 2018, a grieving mother lost her son to an attack that was initiated by a member of “The Banditos” police gang based in East Los Angeles as a requirement to join such groups. Last year, a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department endured five years of bullying and intimidation by members of a gang of deputies from the Compton Sheriff’s station known as “The Executioners.”
“This bill is about proactively rooting out bad apples and takes the necessary steps to reform police culture within a department,” said Assemblymember Gipson. “AB 958 will put forth reform that has been needed, to get rid of a pervasive culture of those who abuse their power when they should be finding better ways to protect our communities.”
After receiving unanimous bipartisan support in the Legislature, AB 958 now heads to the Governor’s desk for consideration.