SACRAMENTO — Emotions are beginning to give way to activism as people look to channel the pain felt in the wake of Stephon Clark’s shooting death into something positive.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is supportive of legislation that would focus on de-escalation tactics.
“What I say to you now is less about the DA’s conclusions and more about how to best prevent these tragedies from happening over and over and over again,” Steinberg said.
Mayor Steinberg is one of many leaders grappling with a search for tangible accountability and meaningful change.
“I think police officers have a very tough job,” Steinberg said at a press conference on Saturday. “They put their lives on the line and at the same time they have an awesome power to take a life.”
The California Act to Save Lives, or Assembly Bill 392, was created by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, and Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento.
“It’ll reform our 100-year-old deadly force rules for police engagement and focus on, most importantly, de-escalation,” Assemblyman McCarty told FOX40.
Essentially, the bill would limit the circumstances under which law enforcement officers can use deadly force.
“We have two major cities on the west coast, Seattle and San Francisco, doing this,” McCarty said. “It hasn’t impacted safety for law enforcement, actually it’s made our communities safer. So we think it’s time to modernize our deadly force rules in California.”
Current standards for use of force are fairly broad. The state’s law mandates that officers can use deadly force when they deem it “reasonable.”
Under AB 392, officers would only be allowed to use deadly force when it’s deemed absolutely necessary.
“The bigger piece of it, frankly, is to prevent these before they even happen,” McCarty said. “So with this law, we’ll have police departments up and down California changing their practices, having their officers trained differently so they can look for less lethal alternatives when confronted with these incidents.”
City leaders are hopeful that this new legislation could be a path forward for a community trying to reconcile with its past.