‘AB 392 criminalizes police use of force, and tips the balance, unnecessarily jeopardizing public safety.’
Governor Gavin Newsom announced he will sign AB 392 Monday, the use-of force bill by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego).
The bill will “modernize standards” for use of deadly force by officers. Specifically, this bill updates the existing deadly force standards to provide that deadly force may only be used when necessary. AB 392 will encourage law enforcement to increasingly rely on de-escalation techniques like verbal persuasion and other crisis intervention methods.
The police “use of force” bill by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), inspired by the Sacramento police shooting last year of Stephon Clark, is moving ahead, and now officially has the approval by Gov. Gavin Newsom. AB 392 would allow criminal charges to be filed against officers who use deadly force if other enforcement options are available. Weber said deescalation tactics and “best practices” were developed from the Obama-era Department of Justice, and already in use in Seattle and San Francisco.
However, the bill has been amended to now allow lethal force only 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.”
In April, California Globe interviewed attorney Kathleen Mastagni Storm who opposed the bill and testified at the Assembly Public Safety hearing.
“This is moving the standard from objective reasonable deadly force to subjective,” attorney Kathleen Mastagni Storm said following the hearing. Mastagni Storm said this bill is just a second guessing opportunity by anyone looking at video or body camera footage following a shooting.
“AB 392 criminalizes police use of force, and tips the balance, unnecessarily jeopardizing public safety,” Mastagni Storm said. “This proposed law is based on a false narrative that the use of deadly force in situations is not necessary.”
Mastagni Storm said courts have long held that police officers may use necessary force, “but AB 392 seeks to redefine ‘necessary,’ such that there is no reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force. ‘Necessary’ has always been the standard.”