New law changes police use of force standard in California


SACRAMENTO (KRON) — Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature Monday ushered in a new law for police use of deadly force.

“With a deep sense of hope and responsibility, and a hope that we can reduce the number of lives lost, we can begin to build trust, and heal.”

What he signed changes language in the law requiring police to only use deadly force when absolutely necessary instead of when reasonable.

Newsom stood next to several families who lost loved ones to police violence, including Stephon Clark in Sacramento, Oscar Grant in Oakland and Willie McCoy in Vallejo.

“It offers a ray of solace for my family and hope it will spare other families from bearing this burden with us,”  said Kori McCoy, whose brother was killed by police. 

Law enforcement was not represented at Monday’s signing ceremony — police groups have remained mostly neutral on the bill that took more than a year and a half of negotiation.

Some question how effective the new law will be.

“That’s the goal and desire of all of us to address these issues in a more systematic way, and that’s going to take a lot more work than passing a piece of legislation and having the Governor sign it.”

Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would build onto this new law, providing police with more mental health and de-escalation tactic training. 

The governor signaling today he’d like to see that bill on his desk. 

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