AB 284, authored by Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty would give local police and district attorneys the ability to ask the state attorney general’s office to investigate police shootings.
The legislation of Assembly Bill 284 was prompted by the high-profile police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., Eric Garner in New York City and the 2016 summer police shooting of Joseph Mann, a mentally ill homeless man, in Sacramento, according to McCarty’s office. In all three cases, local prosecutors declined to charge the officers.
In more detail, the bill requires the Department of Justice to create an independent review unit which will be known as the Statewide Officer-Involved Shootings Investigation Team to investigate shootings where officers are involved. Upon request of a local law enforcement agency or district attorney, the team will investigate, gather facts and provide a recommendation to the entity requesting the review.
The bill has some opposition mainly law enforcement organizations:
- California State Sheriffs’ Association
- California Statewide Law Enforcement Association
- Fraternal Order of Police
- Long Beach Police Officers Association
- Peace Officers Research Association of California
- Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
The bill’s opposition falls in line with US Attorney General’s Jeff Sessions recent roll back of police reform. In April, Sessions sent out a memo which highlighted for review collaborative investigations and prosecutions, law enforcement grants, training, compliance reviews, and more. Advocates and legal experts are increasingly concerned that the new administration is hoping to unravel past agreements and make new police accountability investigations more difficult to launch.
Bill AB 284 is supported by National Action Network, NAACP and SCLC.