Governor Signs Bill to Improve Police Officer Accountability Into Law

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This week, legislation authored by Senator Sydney K. Kamlager aimed at reducing barriers to police accountability, was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom. Kamlager views the signing of AB 127— which will allow a prosecutor’s office to go directly to the judge in securing an arrest warrant when the subject is a peace officer— as a milestone in California’s work to reform the criminal justice legal system.

Currently, prosecutors need the cooperation of a peace officer when seeking an arrest warrant for a peace or police officer involved in misconduct or an officer shooting. Oftentimes, prosecutors are met with an unwillingness to cooperate, thus significantly hindering the prosecutor’s ability to fight for justice.

“We can’t let a ‘snitches get stitches’ policy strong-arm our criminal legal system. AB 127 fights against this practice and will dramatically help in holding police officers accountable in California,” said Kamlager, whose district ranges from Century City to South Los Angeles and parts of West L.A. “By signing AB 127 into law, we’re showing that procedural barriers or an officer’s unwillingness to speak out do not override the due process a victim of police violence or misconduct is entitled to.

“Thank you to Governor Newsom, my legislative colleagues, and San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin for recognizing the bureaucratic hurdles that have been used to shield law enforcement and for all your work that led to this momentous occasion.”

Signing the bill into law will now allow district attorneys to more fully prosecute peace officers when there is probable cause. 

“I am thrilled that Governor Newsom has signed AB 127 into law to ensure that California is eliminating obstacles to police accountability,” said San Francisco District Attorney Boudin, who sponsored AB 127 and testified in support of the bill. “The murder of George Floyd and so many others around the state of California and the nation has reminded us of the need to promote justice for victims of police violence and police misconduct. AB 127 remedies the problem that exists when law enforcement officers refuse to assist in the prosecution of a fellow officer—which can leave prosecutors unable to pursue charges against police who break the law. I am so proud to have sponsored this bill and thank Senator Kamlager for her authorship and leadership on this important issue.”


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