Sacramento, CA – Today, Assemblymember Chris Holden’s police reform legislation, AB 26, cleared its final hurdle in the legislature on the Assembly Floor. AB 26 establishes clear guidelines for police responsibility and accountability when witnessing excessive force by another member of law enforcement. Governor Newsom has until October 10th to sign the legislation.
“Today’s vote is a big step forward for police responsibility and accountability,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “Instituting these core values are paramount to building public trust that has eroded between law enforcement and communities across California.”
California law requires police officers to intercede when observing another officer using force that is beyond that which is necessary, but there are no universal measures used to determine that an officer has in fact interceded. In the case of George Floyd, a lawyer for one of the accused junior officers argued that there was intervention because the junior officer asked the supervising officer if they should turn Floyd on his side.
If AB 26 becomes law, police officers would be required to intercede when witnessing excessive force under the updated guidelines and report the incident in real time to dispatch or the watch commander. The officer’s due process will be protected as the employing agency would review evidence and determine if the offending officer met the standard for intervention. Retaliation against officers that report violations of law or regulation of another officer to a supervisor would be prohibited.
Last year, Governor Newsom’s Policing Advisors released their recommendations which included legislation to “Require officers to intervene to prevent or stop other officers from engaging in excessive force, false arrest, or other inappropriate conduct.”
“We were outraged when we watched the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer from a knee to the neck,” continued Holden. “Equally disturbing, was the lack of intervention from the police officers who witnessed a clear use of excessive force. This lack of action is exactly what my bill addresses, and I look forward to seeing Governor Newsom sign it.”
The full text of the legislation can be found here.