SACRAMENTO (May 29, 2015) – In recent months, the deaths of unarmed black people and other people of color at the hands of police have broken hearts and sparked a national conversation about race and equality. Today, an important bill addressing racial profiling moved forward through California’s legislative process.
“Many Californians have lived experiences with racial profiling and other forms of biased policing. It’s time for us to do something about it. Racial and identity profiling has no place in California,” said Lee Winkelman, Lead Organizer for Reform California.
AB 953, authored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), would improve police-community trust and ensure that all Californians are treated fairly by police. The bill would collect basic information about who the police stop, search, and frisk. To date, the state of California does not collect, analyze, or make available such information.
“To build police-community trust and ensure all Californians are treated with dignity and respect, we first need basic information about what the police are doing,” said Layma Murtaza, Policy Advocate for Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Sacramento.
A similar bill, AB 619, also authored by Assemblymember Weber, was unfortunately held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“Our communities have been shaken by the recent deaths of unarmed black and brown men throughout the country. We are disappointed to see this use of force bill stalled, but will continue to move forward to affirm that we are all worthy of fair policing,” said Samilah Hankins, Director of Legislative Advocacy with Dignity and Power Now.
AB 953 will go to the Assembly floor for a vote sometime next week.
“Collecting data in and of itself will not fix issues with disparate policing. However, increased transparency and accountability will bring us one step closer. We hope Assemblymembers keep that in mind as they vote on this bill next week,” said Rosa Cabrera Aqeel, Legislative Director with PICO California.
AB 953 and AB 619 were co-sponsored by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Sacramento, ACLU of California, Dignity & Power Now, PICO California, Reform California, and Youth Justice Coalition.