SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The Sacramento City Council approved a motion to update the city’s use-of-force policy Tuesday night.
A citizen oversight commission had asked the council to make the use of deadly force by police a last resort option, and Tuesday the council voted 8 to 1 in favor of a version proposed by Mayor Darrell Steinberg.
“Today is a new day, and we’re going to change. And we’re gonna turn around that frustration in real time,” Steinberg said.
It’s a change activists have called for since 2018, with similar language already on the books in San Francisco, but it is not yet in California’s capital city
“Lethal force as a last result is the bare minimum. This won’t be a silver bullet for ending police violence, but it is a noble step in the right direction,” one caller said.
At Tuesday’s Sacramento City Council meeting Steinberg put forward a proposal, echoing recommendations made by an independent commission, stating deadly force shall be the last option considered by a peace officer except for in split-second scenarios.
“Are there other alternatives? Not in the split second, but before the split second that avoids, that maybe avoid the confrontation that leads to deadly force in the first place,” Steinberg said.
Many in the community applauded the motion, calling it long-overdue.
“Every day that goes by without addressing Sacramento’s epidemic with police violence is another day when a police officer may violently take another life,” one caller said.
But others wonder if the changes in policy will translate into real changes in police response.
“You said it’s a new day, but I don’t see things changing right now. So, I’d like to see some action behind that,” another caller said.
When it came down to a decision, Vice Mayor Jeff Harris was the lone nay vote.
“In any issue where deadly force is used it almost always leads to litigation and words make a huge difference when it terms of liabilities, and I am not comfortable moving forward on this language tonight,” Harris said.
But Mayor Steinberg pushed back on another delay, saying the community has waited for solutions long enough.
“The biggest frustration is that we don’t make a decision. This is the right thing to do,” Steinberg said.
The passed proposal now heads to city manager Howard Chan.