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Daily Action: Urge CA Legislators to Demand Police Transparency

CONTACT:Sen. Henry Stern:
(916) 651-4027 (Sacramento)
(818) 876-3352
(805) 815-3917 (Calabasas)
Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson:
(916) 651-4019 (Sacramento)
(805) 965-0862 (Santa Barbara)
(805) 988-1940 (Oxnard)
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin: 
(916) 319-2044 (Sacramento)
(805) 482-1904 (Camarillo)
(805) 483-4488 (Oxnard)
Assemblymember Richard Bloom:
(916) 319-2050 (Sacramento)
(310) 450-0041 (Santa Monica)
Assemblymember Dante Acosta:
(916) 319-2038 (Sacramento)
(661) 286-1565 (Santa Clarita)

(Short Script:
Hello! My name is _______, and I am a constituent of Senator/Assemblymember _____________'s in ____________, California. I'm calling to urge her/him to support measures that would increase police transparency: AB 931, the Police Accountability and Community Protection Act; and SB 1421, which would make police officers' records more accessible by the public. The public has a right to know when police shoot and kill, or engage in serious misconduct like falsifying evidence or committing sexual assault. We also need to modernize our laws limiting the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, reducing the number of unarmed civilians who are killed needlessly by police. Thank you!

AB 931, the Police Accountability and Community Protection Act, was written in response to Stephon Clark's fatal shooting in Sacramento 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.

Meanwhile, 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.