Advertise in The Nooner to reach over 8,000 readers
E-365 - ONE YEAR FROM TODAY!
SEEN ON SUNDAY TEEVEE: This Week: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Face the Nation: House Intel Chair Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)
SACTOWN: As you have likely heard, the Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced in an hour-long detailed presser yesterday that her office would not be filing criminal charges against two police officers in the shooting death of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old black man in his grandmother's backyard on March 18, 2018. The DA announced that the officers had a contemporaneous and reasonable belief that their lives were threatened as he had an object in his hand and body cam image showed a flash of light. The object turned out to be a cell phone. The standard for police officers in the line of duty is "reasonable" rather than "beyond a reasonable doubt," when a homicide can be considered criminal.
A California Department of Justice investigation into the actions of the officers are underway that could lead to state charges under different law. Following that, there will be a disciplinary review of the officers' future with the department.
There was understandable ire from activists who have held weekly protests for nearly a year, and they held a peaceful protest following the announcement. Leaders of Black Lives Matter in Sacramento stated to media that they planned surprise actions aimed at specific actors in the case to be announced on social media rather than traffic and public event disruption that immediate followed the shooting.
Shortly before I put this Nooner to bed, Arden Fair Mall near downtown Sac closed for the day after about a dozen protestors sat outside its entrance overnight. Activists say that they believed the conclusion of the DA's office was coming, but are particularly upset with the disclosure of text messages and a disclosure of a domestic violence complaint by his fiancé as, what some believe to be, a framing of the shooting as "suicide by cop." That was the theme of the anger expressed by the family last night, including his fiancé, who is mother to his their two children.
The question among elected leaders and policy advocates immediately turned to the Capitol, where last year's debate over reducing non-necessary use of lethal support has returned anew for the 2019-20 session.
There are two major bills that reflect the "sides." This morning, instead of using my own words this Sunday morning on a volatile debate, I prefer to turn to the Legislature's nonpartisan and outstanding lawyers with subject matter expertise. I know it's lengthy, but shortening it will only piss someone off and I don't feel like arguing today.
On the greater change in "individual criminal liability" of officers for wrongful death advocated by police reform advocates is AB 392 (Weber and McCarthy).
Under existing law, a homicide committed by a peace officer is justifiable when necessarily committed in arresting a person who has committed a felony and the person is fleeing or resisting such arrest.
Existing case law deems such a homicide to be a seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and as such, requires the actions to be reasonable.
This bill would redefine the circumstances under which a homicide by a peace officer is deemed justifiable to include when the killing is in self-defense or the defense of another, consistent with the existing legal standard for self-defense, or when the killing is necessary to prevent the escape of a fleeing felon whose immediate apprehension is necessary to prevent death or serious injury. The bill would additionally bar the use of this defense if the peace officer acted in a criminally negligent manner that caused the death, including if the officer’s criminally negligent actions created the necessity for the use of deadly force.
The bill would also affirmatively prescribe the circumstances under which a peace officer is authorized to use deadly force to effect an arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.
On the "more training, policies, resources, and refined individual criminal liability" side preferred by law enforcement groups is SB 230 (Caballero).
(1) Existing law requires each law enforcement agency to annually furnish specified information to the Department of Justice regarding the use of force by a peace officer. Existing law requires the Department of Justice, once per year, to update a summary of information contained in the reports received on its internet website. Existing law requires a department or agency that employs peace officers or custodial officers to establish a procedure to investigate complaints by members of the public against those officers.
This bill would require each law enforcement agency to maintain a policy that provides guidelines on the use of force, utilizing deescalation techniques and other alternatives to force when feasible, specific guidelines for the application of deadly force, and factors for evaluating and reviewing all use of force incidents, among other things. The bill would require each agency to make their use of force policy accessible to the public. By imposing additional duties on local agencies, this bill would create a state-mandated local program.
(2) Under existing law, the use of deadly force resulting in the death of a person is justified if it was necessarily committed in overcoming actual resistance to an arrest, if it was necessarily committed in apprehending a felon who had escaped from custody, or if it was necessarily committed in arresting a person charged with a felony and who was fleeing from justice or resisting arrest.
Existing case law prohibits the use of deadly force by a peace officer unless, among other criteria, there is a reasonable fear of death or serious physical harm to the officer or another.
This bill would refine the circumstances under which a homicide by a peace officer is justifiable to those situations in which the officer reasonably believes the suspect poses an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others or when a fleeing suspect has committed a forcible and atrocious felony.
By changing the circumstances under which a peace officer may be charged and convicted of a homicide, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(3) Existing law establishes the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training in the Department of Justice and requires the commission to adopt rules establishing minimum standards regarding the recruitment of peace officers. Existing law requires the commission to develop guidelines and implement courses of instruction regarding racial profiling, domestic violence, hate crimes, vehicle pursuits, and human trafficking, among others.
This bill would require the commission to implement a course or courses of instruction for the regular and periodic training of law enforcement officers in the use of force. The bill would require the commission to develop uniform, minimum guidelines for adoption and promulgation by California law enforcement agencies for the use of force, as specified. The bill would encourage law enforcement agencies to adopt and promulgate a use of force policy and would state the intent of the Legislature that each law enforcement agency adopt, promulgate, and require regular and periodic training consistent with the agency’s policy that complies with the guidelines developed under this bill.
Neither bill has been set for hearing and they are obviously in the Public Safety Committees of their respective houses of origin. AB 392 may be heard after March 9, while SB 230 may be heard after March 10. Assembly Public Safety has scheduled March 12 and 19 hearings, but AB 392 is not on the agendas. Similarly, Senate Public Safety has a hearing scheduled on March 26, but SB 230 is not included in the agenda.
The split in Sacramento is shown in the two bills. Before being elected, Assembly member Jim Cooper (AD09) was a Captain in the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and was an Elk Grove City Council member. His district starts in just south of William Land Park before proceeding through South Sacramento, Elk Grove, and down through Lodi. It contains the Meadowview neighborhood where the Clark shooting occurred as well as many of Sacramento's most economically challenged areas.
To the north of Cooper's district is Kevin McCarty's AD07, which incorporates downtown, West Sacramento, and up through Natomas. Before serving in the Assembly, he was a Sacramento City Council member and a longtime legislative staff member on education issues.
Both Cooper and McCarthy are members of the California Legislative Black Caucus and both have areas of their districts with significant crime. However, they have very different perspectives on the debate about criminal justice and police accountability. For example, in last year's SB 1421 (Skinner), which increased public access to records of individual police officers about prior wrongdoing, McCarty voted for the bill and Cooper voted against it. The bill passed the Assembly Floor on a 44-30 vote, with 6 members not voting.
SB 1421, which is now law under legal dispute over retroactivity, was authored by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley). Skinner chairs the Senate Public Safety Committee, which will be the first arbiter of SB 230 (Caballero), the bill favored by police organizations. The Sacramento Police Officers Association President yesterday stated that the organization introduced the bill, although I'm not sure of the actual sponsor. Cooper is a co-author of that bill. Caballero, the bill's author, is not on Senate Public Safety.
On the Assembly side, Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) is the chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee. Assembly Public Safety will be the first stop for AB 392 (Weber and McCarty). Neither Cooper nor McCarty serve on that committee.
The bills have a total of 24 authors and co-authors, but do not share any.
The bills come from distinctively different directions and frame the debate from the same ground of each side reflected in failed negotiations last year. Few public officials, other than those named as co-authors on each bill, are weighing in with an endorsed approach. Following the DA's announcement yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued this statement:
Clearly, Newsom is urging on the negotiations, but stopping short of taking sides at the early point in the legislative session. This seems to be his approach thus far with the Legislature on many issues.
At his press conference with fellow Sacramento City Councilmembers yesterday, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said "I support the Weber bill (AB 392). There. I said it." That was after being cagey and then pushed by reporters on the topic (I think Laurel Rosenhall). He went on to say that, as a former legislative leader, he knows there will be negotiations and amendments through the process. Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) expressed a similar position.
Few others have spoken out but this will again be one of the highest profile debates ahead this year.
CPAC-PALOOZA: Those of us who stayed up Friday night to watch an alleged truck thief drive around Los Angeles freeways and cities were amazed at the brazen and reckless behavior. Fortunately, nobody was hurt and amazingly, do property appeared to be damaged. For two hours, Angelenos and those tuning in online watched as the driver blew through red lights, turned off the headlights on the freeway, and squeezed through narrow spaces between cars and siderails. We knew we shouldn't, that perhaps it encourages even more reckless behavior and the glorification thereof. At over two hours, it was seemed to be the strangest, longest event of the weekend.
And, then there was President Trump seemingly said "I'll see you and raise you" with an off-the-prompter more than 2-hour profanity-laden speech yesterday. This wasn't just red meat, it was a Brazilian steakhouse for his most conservative base. Before speaking he looked Old Glory in her fifty eyes and gave her a lengthy hug and shake, seemingly saying to Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper "I'll see you and raise you" on their visual lovemaking session at the Oscars.
There are plenty of pages of whe wildest moments out there, so I'll just link to Politico's, but just Google "CPAC Trump 2019" to find others. Obviously your response will be cheers or jeers based on your own perspectives.
For the biggest Nooner takeaway, it was President Trump's comments about California that are relevent. The following is the "California section." Again, because he went off script, there is no official transcript from The White House. As of this morning, I have found no human-curated transcript.
On that note, subscribe to a paper today. Journalists and those behind them matter. The computers have not won, at least when it comes to transcription.
Below is the computer-generated transcript from Factbase, which uses the same AI as teevee closed captioning (which we all know is far from perfect and depends on many factors). There are errors that I have not corrected but they are generally not substantive.
"You saw what I'm doing in California right. They have a festering the fast train. Goes from San Francisco to Los Angeles. It's over budget by. Hundreds of billions of dollars so they have a great idea.
I think they need some fast money because honestly the management of the forests is very bad and it's one of the problems they have. I said you got to get those forests we can't keep spending billions and billions and losing hundreds of lives. More importantly got to clean it up its core management. When a tree falls you can't let the environmentalist say you can't take that tree out. Becomes like a matchstick that tree it hits a flame it goes up the leaves every once in a while you have to remove the leaves because they are so a guy smoking a cigarette he throws it away he doesn't mean it the thing catches on fire we lose four hundred thousand acres and people are killed.
You got to have management but he called me up the other day recently for let's say four weeks ago or so know I just want to tell you you're a great president. And you're one of the smartest people I've ever met. That's what he said. Now that's what he said. Will he admit it. No I doubt it. But that's what he said."
This California segment starts at 52:35 in this full speech video, so you can transcript it yourself if you need to or want to.
I'm guessing Gavin will have no response to the California Love he reportedly shared with POTUS.
#CAKEDAY after the jump...
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Congressman Paul Cook, Assemblymember Susan Talamentes Eggman, Ilissa Gold, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Assemblymember Miguel Santiago!
#GHOSTOFCAKEDAYSPAST: In my explanation of educational salary schedules and the Oakland Unified tentative agreement yesterday, I missed the birthday of Congressman Ami Bera (D-CA07)!
TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM