The California State Senate passed a bill this week to help curb law enforcement's use of deadly force, in a bid to lower the number of fatal police shootings.
This bill would redefine the circumstances under which a homicide by a peace officer is deemed justifiable when the 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, or to apprehend a fleeing person for a felony that threatened or resulted in death or serious bodily injury, if the officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or serious bodily injury to another unless the person is immediately apprehended.
The bill passed the Senate by a 34-3 vote and it will now move to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who supports the legislation.
“Police officers should never take a human life when there are alternatives,” Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego said in remarks on the Assembly floor in late May, before the bill passed.
Weber was a co-author of the bill.
The groundbreaking law could be rolled out across the U.S. and hopefully lower the numbers of fatal killings at the hands of the police, or at least, secure their victims and their families some justice in the courts when Black lives are abruptly taken.
The bill has drawn criticism from Black Lives Matter who feel that the language in the bill is weak.