California is now one of several states with a "reasonable fear" statute, so juries only have to believe that a police officer had a "reasonable fear" that his or her life was in danger in order not to convict an officer conviction in a shooting. Frequently it's because of the doctrine of "reasonable fear". This has created a police culture where officers are encouraged to say and even believe they are under a potential unsafe threat with every single encounter ("The suspect was reaching for his belt").
The new proposal would warrant that police officers hold off on approaching a suspect who could possess a weapon until backup arrives, or it could force police to give explicit verbal warnings that suspects will be killed unless they drop the weapon, Buchen said.
The proposal would open officers who don't follow the stricter rules to discipline or firing, sometimes even criminal charges.
The proposal comes weeks after the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark in a Sacramento neighborhood.
Officers could shoot only if there were no reasonable alternatives, such as first trying to defuse confrontations or using less-deadly weapons.
Tinkering with legal protections for police could make it more hard to hire officers and be unsafe because they may hesitate when confronting an armed suspect, threatening themselves and bystanders, Mr. Obayashi said.
The Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), the state's powerful police lobby, denounced the legislation before its members had even seen it. Uses of force incidents occur quickly, and while we have always supported greater training and body cameras, this legislation takes a risky new step.
Law enforcement organizations aren't immediately commenting.
Weber said she wrote the proposed new standards after being inspired by "the energy" of protesters who have taken to the streets of California's capital city since Clark, 22, was shot to death by two police officers responding to reports of someone smashing auto windows after dark.
The following day, investigators confirmed Clark wasn't armed and was in fact holding his cellphone when he was shot and killed.
Clark's uncle and family spokesman Curtis Gordon said changing the legal standard might mean that more people confronted by police "could go home".
Several black community leaders at the news conference called the proposal "a good first step". "Revising California's use of force standard will help law enforcement transition to a police system that can prevent the deaths of unarmed individuals and build much needed public confidence in how we keep all our communities safe". He found that officers working under more restrictive policies are less likely to kill and less likely to be killed or assaulted.
California had more people killed by law enforcement in 2017 than any other state in the country, of the 162 people shot and killed by police, only half were armed with guns.
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Sacramento Police officers responding to calls of vehicle vandalism approached Clark in his grandmother's backyard and shot him eight times.
This article was reported by The Associated Press.