The state of California has just adopted new guidelines or standards. The new standards regarding officer-involved shootings will be investigated by the state, not local police departments [or sheriff’s offices?]. The guidelines will include a five-person panel to review each police shooting. The panel will consist of an assistant district attorney, a criminal lawyer, a public defender, a criminologist, and a medical expert.
The state of New Mexico and the Police Officers Association of New Mexico (POANM) have agreed to formally review police shootings of unarmed civilians as part of a new protocol that follows the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD). The agreement was reached following the UN’s recommendations for improved police accountability.LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Police killings of unarmed people will now be investigated by the state under new guidelines issued by California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
The new directive has been hailed by civil liberties advocates as an important change that will make the investigation of controversial shootings more transparent. But there are doubts whether the new guidelines will work fairly in practice.
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People protesting the deaths of friends and loved ones hold signs during a press conference for the family of Andres Guardado, who was fatally shot by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy at 420 W. Redondo Beach Blvd. in Gardena on Friday the 19th. June 2020. (Photo: Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
Prior to his appointment as attorney general earlier this year, Rep. Rob co-authored a new state law, known as AB1506, which for the first time requires an investigation of all shootings involving officers that result in the death of an unarmed citizen.
Until now, fatal shootings have been handled primarily by local law enforcement and prosecutors. Critics say the process is problematic because the investigators are too close and personal to the targets of their research.
What we saw in AB1506 are certainly very well-intentioned words from the legislature: What can we do to make it fairer? Melina Abdullah, professor and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles. And it was a recognition that prosecutors depend on police departments for almost every case, so they’re usually in bed to some extent. What we really need is independent research.
Jack Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont-McKenna College, says local and regional law enforcement will proceed cautiously at first.
Contradictions are inevitable. In shootings involving officers, strong emotions and arguments are inherent, he said. And that puts local police departments and prosecutors in potential conflict with the state.
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The Los Angeles Police Officers Union issued a statement:
Officer-involved shootings are currently subject to a transparent and comprehensive investigative process ….. It is very important that this new process is fact-based, legislation-based and free from political pressures to ensure a fair trial for all.
Could the new leadership become a source of tension between state and local police investigators? Bonta was suspicious.
I’m not going to get ahead of anything, he said. And I want to say that we are conducting these investigations in accordance with our legal obligations, and we are doing so in a spirit of cooperation.
Connie Rice, a well-known civil rights lawyer in Los Angeles, advocates for the new law.
I think this bill would end local conditions that make it difficult to prosecute officials who should be prosecuted, Rice said. They know prosecutors need cops to testify in their cases. And even with local prosecutors charged with prosecuting local cops – guess who their detectives are? They’re from the wards. Same departments.
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The law is not retroactive and takes effect this month.