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Daily Action: Demand Accountability When Police Use Deadly Force


CONTACT:
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin: 
Office addresses:
2301 E Daily Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010 (district)
State Capitol, P.O. Box 942849, Room 5119, Sacramento, CA 94249

Email:
assemblymember.irwin@assembly.ca.gov 

Phone:
(916) 319-2044 (Sacramento)
(805) 482-1904 (Camarillo)
(805) 483-4488 (Oxnard)

Short Script:
Hello, my name is ___________, and I’m a constituent of Assemblymember Irwin’s from ____________. I’m writing/calling to urge her to support the California Act to Save Lives, A.B. 392. It would prohibit police from using deadly force in situations when non-lethal alternatives should be used instead. Our police must be trained in methods of apprehension that avoid violence, and they should be held accountable when their actions result in an unnecessary death. Thank you!


BACKGROUND
On Saturday, Sacramento’s district attorney announced that no charges will be brought in the police slaying last March of Stephon Clark, who was killed in his grandmother’s backyard after his cellphone was mistaken for a weapon. The announcement continues an unacceptable trend of police escaping accountability when their violent actions result in death.

The announcement also shone a fresh spotlight on efforts in the California legislature to tighten the standards under which lethal force by police is justified — specifically A.B. 392, the California Act to Save Lives. The bill, similar to one that failed in the state Senate last summer after passing the Assembly unanimously, would restrict the use of deadly force to situations in which it is “necessary” — not “reasonable,” as current law requires — and in which all other alternatives have been exhausted before lethal tactics are employed.

Indivisible, along with the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, and many other civil rights organizations, consider A.B. 392 among the highest-priority bills on the legislature’s docket this year. However, law-enforcement groups are backing a competing bill — S.B. 230, which focuses on increasing use-of-force training for police officers without addressing criminal liability for police officers who kill unnecessarily. Proponents of A.B. 392 note that its higher accountability standards will compel the training and other improvements proposed by the competing bill. Seattle and Cleveland offer examples of large cities that tightened use-of-force standards and saw a reduction in overall incidents involving police force.

Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, who voted for last year’s version of A.B. 392, is expected to come under pressure from local law-enforcement interests to abandon the bill and back S.B. 230 instead. During her “Accountability Coffee” with Indivisible: Conejo activists on March 3, Irwin noted that her staff prefers to receive detailed, individually written letters from constituents, rather than quick phone calls — particularly when legislation is still being written and considered in the months before a vote. We’re encouraging our activists to write letters … or send emails or make phone calls … on this vital issue.