SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/KRON) – California’s state Assembly has passed legislation intended to deter shootings by police by tightening when officers can legally open fire.
Lawmakers approved the bill Wednesday, 66-2, after changes last week ended what had been vehement opposition from law enforcement.
“This bill is the first step in a number of steps that do talk about race, that talk about class, that talk about bias, that talk about fear,” said Assm. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles).
The bill would allow police to use deadly force only when it is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious injury to officers or bystanders. It was sparked by public outrage over fatal shootings by police, including the killing of unarmed vandalism suspect Stephon Clark in Sacramento.
Law enforcement leaders say the revised language would mostly leave existing court rulings in place. But they say the updated standard, combined with more required training for officers, would do more than any other state to deter shootings.
Lawmakers hope both sides of the issue are always considered as the new law moves forward.
“My issue is this became a partisan issue when it should never be,” said Democratic assemblyman Jim Frazier.
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