Lawmakers debate police use of force amid Stephon Clark decision

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SACRAMENTO (KRON) — As Sacramento simmers in protests over law enforcement officials clearing the officers who killed Stephon Clark, lawmakers are debating how the state should change its police use of force laws.

“I think the attorney general did his job to the independent investigation, but the big takeaway I got from him, he said he did the investigation, he followed the book,” said Assm. Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). “We’ll maybe we need to take a look at those rules and the book.”

McCarty is a cosponsor of AB 392, a proposed law inspired by Clark.

The bill aims to only allow police to use deadly force when there is no other reasonable alternative to prevent serious injury or death and makes it easier than it is now to punish police who don’t meet the standard.

The other bill, SB 230, is backed by several police groups. It focuses more on de-escalation training and the development of mental health crisis response teams.

It also pushes for police agencies to have more concrete use of force policies. Both police groups and bill authors confirm the two tried to come up with legislation together but could not compromise. “By the fact that they’re introducing another proposal leads makes me think we have an opportunity to make a change this year.”

Both the governor and attorney general say is change is needed, but neither has taken a stance on the two bills.

Neither bill is scheduled yet for a hearing.

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