Newsom signs bill to strip badges from police officers who commit misconduct | October 1, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 1, 2021

Newsom signs bill to strip badges from police officers who commit misconduct

California no longer one of four states without a decertification process

by Gennady Sheyner

In a major victory for advocates of police reform, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed on Thursday a bill that will allow the state to strip badges from officers who engage in serious misconduct.

Speaking at a news conference in Gardena, Newsom signed Senate Bill 2, which was authored by state Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, and which was subject to months of negotiations before the state Assembly and Senate voted to pass it on Sept. 3 and Sept. 8, respectively.

Named after Kenneth Roth, Jr., a Black man who was shot and killed by a police officer, the bill ensures that California will no longer be one of just four states in the country that do not have a decertification process for police officers. (Hawaii, New Jersey and Rhode Island are the others.)

Moments before he signed the bill, Newsom pointed to California's status as both a leader and a laggard when it comes to police reform, citing its lack of a decertification process.

"There's 46 other states that have already established foundational laws to address that issue. Why is it so hard to do the right thing? Yet it remains still hard to do the right thing," Newsom said.

The legislation creates a new advisory board that will review cases of police misconduct and issue recommendations for consideration by the Commission of Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST), the agency charged with certifying police officers. It was subject to intense negotiations after numerous police groups and lawmakers expressed concerns that the composition of the newly created advisory board does not give police officers enough representation.

Unlike the original version of the bill, the legislation that cleared the Senate on Sept. 8 no longer requires the advisory board to include two members who had been "subject to wrongful use of force" by a police officer or who are surviving family members of a person killed by the wrongful use of deadly force by an officer. Rather, it merely calls for the governor to give "strong consideration" to individuals who had been affected by police misconduct.

In addition, the revised SB 2 creates a two-thirds vote threshold for decertifying an officer and allows POST to suspend rather than decertify an officer who committed serious misconduct.

Bradford said the bill aims to target the "bad apples" in police departments and to restore trust between communities and police officers in the aftermath of incidents in which Black and brown residents have been killed in disproportionate numbers by police officers. He called Newsom's signing of SB 2 a "major victory for California" that "sends a message all across the nation."

"SB 2 will end the wash, rinse and repeat cycle of police misconduct and ensure all officers in California are held to the same fair and appropriate standard," Bradford said at the Thursday news conference.

The bill is part of a package of police-reform bills that Newsom signed on Thursday morning. Also included in the package is AB 89, which raises the minimum age for police officers from 18 to 21 and directs the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges to create a police degree program that covers subjects such as psychology, communication and ethnic studies.

"This bill relies on years of study and new understanding of brain development to ensure that only those officers capable of high-level decision-making and judgment in tense situations are entrusted in working in our communities," Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-the bill's author, said at the Thursday news conference.

In addition, Newsom's is signing into law Assembly Bill 26, which was authored by Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, and which strengthens laws requiring officers to intervene when they witness excessive force and prohibits retaliation against officers that report excessive force.

Joining Newsom and the lawmakers at the Gardena event were family members of individuals who were killed by police officers, including Angelo Quinto, a 30-year-old man who was killed in Antioch in December 2020 while suffering a mental health episode. His sister, Bella Collins Quinto, recalled seeing her brother feeling "very afraid and paranoid."

"The police came, and they knelt on his neck until he was unresponsive," she recalled. "Even in the last four minutes of restraint, he was unresponsive and they didn't address that at all. It was in front of our mom — in our room. It was just absolutely excessive and unnecessary."

Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta both lauded the bills as a key milestone in the state's effort to improve law enforcement and restore trust between officers and the communities they serve. Bonta said the bills signed by Newsom constitute the state's response to a "crisis of trust" that the state and the nation have been experiencing when it comes to police misconduct.

"Today, we witness history get signed into law," Bonta said. "And today we embark on a new chapter in which we infuse our criminal justice system with more trust, with more transparency and with more accountability."

Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2021 at 1:35 pm

felix is a registered user.

Yes it is progress - Yea.
But I'd calm down about celebrating too hard.

Since the police union lobby did it's thing, this can't honestly be called "decertification" given an officer who commits misconduct can now simply be suspended instead of decertiied, and soon be back on the job. And this decision will now be made by a 2/3 vote instead of a simple majority, so fewer will be suspended or decertified.

That the review panel must have law enforcment members on it, but no one who has suffered their abuse who could bring their wisdom to the process is the final hole in this now leaky bucket of accountability.


Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 30, 2021 at 5:40 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

Newsom is pandering to a certain group by doing this. The police union prevents needed reform. Attack that. And let's attack crime, rather than giving splashy press conferences.


Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2021 at 4:46 am

Resident is a registered user.

Watching politicians crack down on police it seems like they're backstabbing the very people who enable their lavish lifestyles, and this goes to many well-to-do Palo Altans as well who jump onto every political trend yet (suddenly police is our biggest problem now, the very people who make sacrifices daily to keep your city squeaky clean) make sure to buy the newest home security system with phone apps that instantly alert you of a break-in and summon those "racist" policemen you hate so much....


Posted by Paul Blackburn
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 1, 2021 at 9:14 am

Paul Blackburn is a registered user.

Does decertification actually prevent a police officer from being employed in another California municipality?

There are countless red-communities in other parts of the state (i.e. Orange County and the Central Valley) who would welcome rogue cops onto their police force or sheriff's departments.


Posted by Banes
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 1, 2021 at 11:10 am

Banes is a registered user.

True, Newsom is pandering to a target group of Voters..
Police union can go on strike - officers can simply NOT SHOW UP, until deeds are done & criminals gone. The police could all take their vacation time off at the same time during the next Soros-Pelosi-Newsom coup d’etat. Simply not show up.
The undermining of America in full view.
America is a big struggle for the 1% to enslave or take any control of.
But they are getting there.


Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2021 at 11:38 am

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

How about a bill to get rid of bad teachers in the California public school system? The numbers are much higher than the small number of bad police officers in the state. Oops !!! Teachers union gave him over 1.5 million in his run for governor and over 1 million to fight the recall, not to mention the millions they gave to other democrat candidates up for re-election in 2020. Guess that bill won't be happening anytime soon and our kids will continue to be the victims of a failing system, which at one time was one of the best in the country.


Posted by Fr0hickey
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2021 at 4:43 pm

Fr0hickey is a registered user.

@felix
I agree with your points. I would have put in that the review panel should be entirely composed of California prison inmates with at least a 30year sentence.


Posted by Hinrich
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2021 at 5:45 pm

Hinrich is a registered user.

Where are we going? Finding, funding, training, and deploying police is going to get a lot tougher in the future. We're already hearing about very tight budgets, unfunded pensions, cops who won't come as we increasingly trivialize crime (see gangs storming stores at the malls due to the $900 Don't Bother Calling threshold). It's going to get even tougher to police in poorer towns (you know, the towns where all of the poor people live that we're supposed to care about). Activists continue to demean and diminish the police, crime rises, and people who have no idea what they are doing are making everyone less secure in their homes and on their streets. The work of the Woke is deconstructive. It is disruption gone wild. Policing is just one more thing being grabbed from local control to enhance control by the State. Newsom gets his photo op, the rest of us lose.


Posted by ArtL
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 1, 2021 at 8:45 pm

ArtL is a registered user.

What about officers who are accused of misdeeds and improper use of force, but who resign, and thus are no longer current members of any police force. Will this new law apply to those cases as well and will the advisory board be able to conduct investigations into their conduct as well as to active members of a police force?


Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2021 at 7:54 am

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

@ Hinrich ... you hit the nail right on the head. Greasy Gav photo op, the SJWs get to feel good about their cause of the moment and the majority of us who respect the police and realize there are a few bad apples in just about every profession that need to be dealt with are left scratching our heads. The "Woke" are attempting to destroy everything in their path they don't agree with. Wait until one of them needs a cop and nobody shows up. You'll hear the sobbing and weeping from here to Sacramento.


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