143 people were killed by police in 2018 in California alone, including Stephon Clark, who was shot dead in his grandmother’s backyard, holding a cell phone. However, California took a huge step in addressing police violence with the Act to Save Lives.
The bill updates law enforcement guidelines on deadly force so that it can be used only when “necessary” instead of when “reasonable.”
“When you look at the date provided by the California Department of Justice, it shows that in 84% of police shootings in the state, police didn’t even try to another form of force before deciding to shoot somebody,” Campaign Zero Co-founder Samuel Sinyangwe explained.
Supporters say changing deadly force guidelines could save lives.
“We looked at the hundred largest police departments across the country,” Sinyangwe said. “those that require de-escalation are 15% less likely to kill people. Those that require police to use every alternate to deadly force instead of deadly force are 25% less likely to kill people.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law in August 2019.
“We are doing something today that stretches the boundaries of possibility, that sends a message to people all across this country that they can do more, and they can do better to meet this moment in their respective states,” he said.