California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed a package of police reform bills aimed at increasing police accountability, CNN reports.
Newsom signed bills that would create a system to decertify cops who commit serious misconduct, strengthen use of force policies, and increase transparency.
"On the one hand, we're all dismayed by the tragic events that led to the untimely death of George Floyd,” Assemblyman Chris Holden, who led the legislative effort, said Thursday. “On the other hand, we're standing here today with legislation aimed at strengthening our current law, which requires that peace officers have a duty to intervene.”
The legislation will also ban cops accused of wrongdoing from avoiding accountability by moving to a different law enforcement agency.
"Today we embark on a new chapter in which we infuse our criminal justice system with more trust with more transparency and with more accountability," state Attorney General Rob Bonta said. "We are showing that you can build trust with the public, and enhance safety of our community and our officers at the same time, that they are not mutually exclusive, that in fact they are the enforcing that by building trust. Today, we enhance safety for our officers and for our community."
Newsom says law will fight racism:
“Today marks another step toward healing and justice for all,” Newsom said in a statement. “Too many lives have been lost due to racial profiling and excessive use of force. We cannot change what is past, but we can build accountability, root out racial injustice and fight systemic racism. We are all indebted to the families who have persevered through their grief to continue this fight and work toward a more just future.”
“There is more work to do, and we are already back at it. Four hundred years of racism won’t be erased overnight—but the arc is bending and the moral momentum is on our side,” said State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins.
Federal reform sinks:
Meanwhile bipartisan talks on a federal policing reform package fell apart last month.
Republican Sen. Tim Scott has spent months negotiating with Democrats Cory Booker and Karen Bass on a deal but the two sides split on qualified immunity, which protects cops from being sued in civil court.
"(T)he President and everyone in the administration -- we have strongly supported Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Karen Bass in their efforts. And we're greatly appreciative of their efforts, which we consider to be ongoing," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday. "But unfortunately, Republicans rejected reforms that even the previous President has supported and refused to engage on key issues that many in law enforcement were willing to address."
Biden is considering an executive order on police reforms while the Justice Department announced new guidelines banning federal officers from using neck restraints and no-knock entries except in rare cases.