Who should investigate police shootings of unarmed civilians? New law gets state DOJ involved when someone dies | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-07-21 20:30:00 –

Local law enforcement agencies are working to enforce new legislation that will deprive the Kern County District Attorney’s Office of police investigation power and hand it over to the state’s Ministry of Justice.

Act of Parliament 1506, called the Use of Police Force, was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2020 and came into effect on July 1. We will publish the survey results online.

Attorney General Rob Bonta said AB 1506 aims to inject independence into the review process for all such cases and create transparency between the community and law enforcement agencies. ..

“We will act as an independent external body in these serious cases, in line with legal requirements,” Bonta said at a press conference on July 7. Californians are worth knowing that there is a fair and impartial process in place to properly and timely investigate shootings involving police officers. “

However, Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer and Sheriff Donnie Youngblood say the local DA office already offers independence.

Zimmer said her investigation had no local government influence and it would be incorrect to assume that it was not. Young Blood said the Justice Department’s investigation would reach the same conclusions as the local DA.

“The Justice Department always had the ability to prosecute officers for bad shooting, but it wasn’t,” Youngblood added. “Then you have to assume that the officers are within the scope of the law.”

Daniel Lawyer Rodriguez, the founder of the law firm Rodriguez and Associates, explained that before the new law, the Attorney General could prosecute law enforcement agencies at his “discretion.” ..

Rodriguez said the law would increase the transparency of many citizens who distrust police.

“The report gives us an accurate picture of what was considered, what evidence was collected and weighed,” Rodriguez said.

Mr Bonta said his office would publish a report detailing the findings.

“One of the most important challenges ahead for public security and our society is to build and maintain trust between our community and law enforcement agencies,” Bonta said in a news release. “A fair and impartial investigation and independent review of shootings involving police officers is one key factor in achieving that credibility.”

However, Mr Zimmer said removing local control would not allow residents of Kern County to express their views.

“What if Kern County voters don’t like how the case is handled?” Zimmer said. “900,000 people in Kern County aren’t going to pull alone to vote for (Attorney General Bonta). Voters voted for me to make these decisions.”

Fight against distrust

In June 2020, the Bakersfield Police Department Community Joint Core Working Group submitted a recommendation for police reform to the Bakersfield City Council. Traco Matthews, a member of the group, said the initiative in the report aimed to build a relationship of trust between law enforcement agencies and the colored community.

He said the AB1560 is in line with the mission of those proposals. Publicizing the Attorney General’s decision-making process on police use of deadly forces will help Californians dispel distrust, Matthews said.

“Greater independence can benefit services for strengthening trust in law enforcement and communities, especially the color community,” says Matthews. “BPD and law enforcement agencies generally want to do the right thing in terms of strengthening trust.”

Matthews said DA and law enforcement often work together, which could lead to conflicts of interest in these proceedings.

“To make public security more effective, we must do it together,” Matthews said. “Not only the law enforcement agencies on the island, but also the community needs to be involved. The public has a reason to be involved and share feedback … and ultimately cooperate with this really important task.”

Investigative team shooting

There are two types of investigations when law enforcement agencies use deadly forces: criminal and administrative. Youngblood added that administrative investigations examined whether police officers’ actions were in compliance with departmental policies, and DA was conducting criminal investigations to determine whether police officers violated the law.

But now, for shooting involving qualified police officers, the AB1560 creates a shooting investigation team for the California Police Department. Deployed investigators will be notified by local law enforcement agencies to visit the scene of the case and conduct their own investigation. Bonta said at a news conference that one team would cover Southern California and another would oversee Northern California.

Young Blood said he did not know how the monitoring process would be carried out if the investigation had to be carried out in a short period of time.

“We’re not going to leave (the suspect down) on the road until the Justice Department is here,” Youngblood said. “… Make sure you have a short time frame to gather witnesses and that the evidence is not destroyed or altered by the environment. We certainly want to work with them, but as soon as possible You also need to be there. “

Bonta said at a news conference that there were shootings involving 40 to 50 police officers each year, requiring investigation by the Attorney General, based on data collected by the State Department of Justice.

Who should investigate police shootings of unarmed civilians? New law gets state DOJ involved when someone dies | News Source link Who should investigate police shootings of unarmed civilians? New law gets state DOJ involved when someone dies | News

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