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Daily Action: Join the ACLU's Sacramento Lobby Day - From Home!


CONTACT:
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin

(916) 319-2044 (Sacramento)
(805) 482-1904 (Camarillo)
(805) 483-4488 (Oxnard)
Assemblyman Dante Acosta:
(916) 319-2038 (Sacramento)
(661) 286-1565 (Santa Clarita)

(Short Script:
Hello! My name is _______, and I am a constituent of Assemblymember _____________'s in ____________, California. I'm calling to urge her/him to support measures that would improve our criminal justice system, including SB 10, the California Money Bail Reform Act; AB 931, the Police Accountability and Community Protection Act; and SB 1421, which would make police officers' records more accessible by the public. SB 10 would fix our broken and inequitable system of imposing bail, replacing monetary demands with risk assessment to determine whether an accused person should be released before trial. AB 931 would modernize our laws limiting the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, reducing the number of unarmed civilians such as Stephon Clark who are killed needlessly by police. And SB 1421 would place California laws on par with most states across the nation -- even Texas -- where the public can access personnel records of officers who have used deadly force or engaged in misconduct. Thank you!


BACKGROUND
On Monday the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU of Southern California have drawn hundreds of activists to the state capitol in Sacramento for their annual Lobby Day. This year activists are focusing on criminal justice reform, in the wake of Stephon Clark's death at the hands of police in Sacramento last month. Participants are visiting legislators' offices to advocate on behalf of three measures awaiting action.

  • SB 10, the California Money Bail Reform Act, passed the state Senate last June but has been languishing since then in the Assembly's appropriations committee. Pressure to act increased in January when California's First District Court of Appeal ruled that defendants’ 14th Amendment rights are violated when they are detained before trial without critical due process protections.

California’s bail system rewards those who can afford to pay for their freedom, while punishing other accused persons for being poor. In contrast, SB 10 would require counties to set up a data-driven system that reviews suspects and their likely public safety risk, then provides courts with recommendations about appropriate terms of release. In most cases, the ability to post bail would not be a condition for release -- though people charged with violent crimes, as well as likely flight risks, wouldn’t qualify.

  • AB 931, the Police Accountability and Community Protection Act, was written in response to Clark's fatal shooting by officers who mistook his cellphone for a gun. (Last year, only half of the 162 civilians killed in police shootings in California were armed with guns.) The bill would change the circumstances under which officers can use deadly force.

The current standard holds that the use of force is acceptable when it is "objectively reasonable" -- when a similar action would likely be undertaken by another officer with similar training and experience. The new threshold for using force would be much more limited: It would be acceptable only when necessary to prevent imminent bodily harm or death, and when there are no reasonable alternatives to de-escalate the situation via non-lethal means.

  • SB 1421 would make law enforcement personnel records more available to the public in situations when officers have used deadly force or have committed misconduct. Specifically, records would be opened after an officer discharges a firearm or taser, uses a weapon to strike a person's head or neck, or uses force of any kind that results in serious bodily harm or death. Additionally, records of on-duty sexual assault, such as trading sex for leniency, would be made public, as well as records of dishonesty in the reporting, investigation or prosecution of a crime.