California expected to enact deadly force restrictions for law enforcement

California expected to enact deadly force restrictions for law enforcement
© Getty Images

California is expected to enact some of the strictest rules for deadly force by law enforcement officers, The Sacramento Bee reports.

The California state Senate passed the legislation on Monday after a yearlong process to change the state’s rules on the use of deadly force, making deadly force lawful when it is “necessary” as opposed to when officers believe it is “reasonable.”

The state Assembly passed the bill in May, and it gained police support after lawmakers broadened the measure's language to allow lethal force when “an officer reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, that deadly force is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person” and when arresting a felon that threatens harm, according to the Bee.

ADVERTISEMENT

The law tasks courts with determining whether the deadly force was “necessary.” The bill requires evaluating a law enforcement officer’s actions before and after any deadly force incident and whether de-escalation techniques were tried first, according to the Bee.

California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomPG&E announces .5B settlement for Northern California wildfires Newsom jokes after Harris drops 2020 bid ahead of his Iowa campaign events for her: 'I want a reimbursement!' Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D) is expected to sign the bill into law. In May, the governor called the measure “an important bill” that “will help restore community trust in our justice system.”

The Hill has reached out to Newsom for comment on the bill's passage this week.

The legislation was introduced in April 2018. Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D) and Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D) said the law, which was endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, will urge officers to de-escalate situations or use less lethal weapons during arrests and encounters with civilians.