Today's Law As Amended


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AB-931 Criminal procedure: use of force by peace officers.(2017-2018)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 835a of the Penal Code is amended to read:

835a.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) That the authority to use physical force, conferred on peace officers by this section, is a serious responsibility that shall be exercised judiciously and with respect for human rights and dignity and for the sanctity of every human life. The Legislature further finds and declares that every person has a right to be free from excessive use of force by officers acting under color of law.
(2) As set forth below, it is the intent of the Legislature that peace officers use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life. In determining whether deadly force is necessary, officers shall evaluate each situation in light of the particular circumstances of each case, and shall use other available resources and techniques if reasonably safe and feasible to an objectively reasonable officer.
(3) That the decision by a peace officer to use force shall be evaluated carefully and thoroughly, in a manner that reflects the gravity of that authority and the serious consequences of the use of force by peace officers, in order to ensure that officers use force consistent with law and agency policies.
(4) That the decision by a peace officer to use force shall be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable officer in the same situation, based on the totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the officer at the time, rather than with the benefit of hindsight, and that the totality of the circumstances shall account for occasions when officers may be forced to make quick judgments about using force.
(5) That individuals with physical, mental health, developmental, or intellectual disabilities are significantly more likely to experience greater levels of physical force during police interactions, as their disability may affect their ability to understand or comply with commands from peace officers. It is estimated that individuals with disabilities are involved in between one-third and one-half of all fatal encounters with law enforcement.
(b)  Any peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense may use objectively  reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape, escape  or to overcome resistance.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), a peace officer is justified in using deadly force upon another person only when the officer reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, that such force is necessary for either of the following reasons:
(A) To defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person.
(B) To apprehend a fleeing person for any felony that threatened or resulted in death or serious bodily injury, if the officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or serious bodily injury to another unless immediately apprehended. Where feasible, a peace officer shall, prior to the use of force, make reasonable efforts to identify themselves as a peace officer and to warn that deadly force may be used, unless the officer has objectively reasonable grounds to believe the person is aware of those facts.
(2) A peace officer shall not use deadly force against a person based on the danger that person poses to themselves, if an objectively reasonable officer would believe the person does not pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or to another person.
(d)  A peace officer who makes or attempts to make an arrest need not retreat or desist from their his  efforts by reason of the resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested. A peace officer shall not  arrested; nor shall such officer  be deemed an aggressor or lose the his  right to self-defense by the use of objectively reasonable force in compliance with subdivisions (b) and (c)  reasonable force  to effect the arrest or to prevent escape or to overcome resistance. For the purposes of this subdivision, “retreat” does not mean tactical repositioning or other deescalation tactics. 
(e) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) “Deadly force” means any use of force that creates a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury, including, but not limited to, the discharge of a firearm.
(2) This  A threat of death or serious bodily injury is “imminent” when, based on the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable officer in the same situation would believe that a person has the present ability, opportunity, and apparent intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or another person. An imminent harm is not merely a fear of future harm, no matter how great the fear and no matter how great the likelihood of the harm, but is one that, from appearances, must be instantly confronted and addressed.  section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2020, and as of that date is repealed. 
(3) “Totality of the circumstances” means all facts known to the peace officer at the time, including the conduct of the officer and the subject leading up to the use of deadly force.

SEC. 2.

 Section 835a of the Penal Code is amended added to read:

835a.
 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) That the authority to use physical force, conferred on peace officers by this section, is a serious responsibility that shall must  be exercised judiciously and with respect for human rights and dignity and for the sanctity of every human life. The Legislature further finds and declares that every person has a right to be free from excessive use of  force by officers acting under color of law.
(2) As set forth below, it is the intent of the Legislature that peace officers use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life. In determining whether deadly force is necessary, officers shall evaluate each situation in light of the particular circumstances of each case, and shall use other available resources and techniques if reasonably safe and feasible to an objectively reasonable officer.
(3) That the decision by a peace officer to use force shall be evaluated carefully and thoroughly, in a manner that reflects the gravity of that authority and the serious consequences of the use of force by peace officers, in order to ensure that officers use force consistent with law and agency policies.
(4) (2)  That the decision by  a peace officer  officer’s decision  to use force shall must  be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable officer in the same situation, based on the totality of the circumstances known to or perceived by the officer at the time, rather than with the benefit of hindsight, and that the totality of the circumstances shall must  account for occasions when officers may be forced to make quick judgments about using force. force in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving. 
(5) That individuals with physical, mental health, developmental, or intellectual disabilities are significantly more likely to experience greater levels of physical force during police interactions, as their disability may affect their ability to understand or comply with commands from peace officers. It is estimated that individuals with disabilities are involved in between one-third and one-half of all fatal encounters with law enforcement.
(b) Any peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense may use objectively reasonable force  reasonable force, other than deadly force,  to effect the arrest, to prevent escape, or to overcome resistance.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), a peace officer is justified in using deadly force upon another person only when the officer reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, that such force is necessary for either of the following reasons: A peace officer who makes or attempts to make an arrest shall not be required to retreat or desist from his or her efforts by reason of the resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested and shall not be deemed an aggressor or lose his or her right to self-defense by the use of reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape, or to overcome resistance. However, peace officers shall attempt to control an incident by using time, distance, communications, and available resources in an effort to deescalate a situation whenever it is safe, feasible, and reasonable to do so. This subdivision shall not be construed to conflict with the limitations on the use of deadly force set forth in subdivision (d) or to prohibit law enforcement agencies from requiring peace officers to employ reasonable alternatives to the use of force or other tactics designed to make arrests without the use of force or with the least amount of force necessary. 
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, “feasible” means capable of being done or carried out to achieve a lawful objective without increasing the risk to the officer or another person.
(d)  (1)  (A) To defend against an imminent threat of  A peace officer may use deadly force only when such force is necessary to defend against a threat of imminent  death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person.
(B) To apprehend a fleeing person for any felony that threatened or resulted in death or serious bodily injury, if the officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or serious bodily injury to another unless immediately apprehended. Where feasible, a peace officer shall, prior to the use of force, make reasonable efforts to identify themselves as a peace officer and to warn that deadly force may be used, unless the officer has objectively reasonable grounds to believe the person is aware of those facts. As used in this paragraph, the following terms have the following meanings: 
(2) (i)  A peace officer shall not use deadly force against a person based on the danger that person poses to themselves, if  “Necessary” means that, given the totality of the circumstances known to the officer at the time,  an objectively reasonable officer would believe the person does not pose an imminent threat of peace officer in the same situation would conclude that there was no reasonable alternative to the use of deadly force that would prevent imminent  death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or to another person.
(d) (ii)  A peace officer who makes or attempts to make an arrest need not retreat or desist from their efforts by reason of the resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested. A peace officer shall not be deemed an aggressor or lose the right to self-defense by the use of objectively reasonable force in compliance with subdivisions (b) and (c) to effect the arrest or to prevent escape or to overcome resistance. For the purposes of this subdivision, “retreat” does not mean tactical repositioning or other deescalation tactics. “Reasonable alternatives” mean tactics and methods, other than the use of deadly force, of apprehending a subject or addressing a situation that do not unreasonably increase the threat posed to the peace officer or another person. Reasonable alternatives may include, but are not limited to, verbal communications, warnings, deescalation, and tactical repositioning, along with other tactics and techniques intended to stabilize the situation and reduce the immediacy of the threat so that more time, options, and resources can be called upon to resolve the situation without the use of deadly force. 
(e) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) (iii)  “Deadly force” means any use of force that creates a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury, including, but not limited to, the discharge of a firearm. “Totality of the circumstances” means all facts known to the peace officer at the time, including the actions of the subject and the officer leading up to the use of deadly force. 
(2) (iv)  A threat “threat  of imminent  death or serious bodily injury is “imminent”  injury” exists  when, based on the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable officer in the same situation would believe that a person has the present ability, opportunity, and apparent intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or another person. An imminent harm is not merely a fear of future harm, no matter how great the fear and no matter how great the likelihood of the harm, but is one that, from appearances, must be instantly confronted and addressed. 
(3) (2)  “Totality of the circumstances” means all facts known to the peace officer at the time, including the conduct of the officer and the subject leading up to the use of deadly force. A peace officer shall not use deadly force against an individual based on the danger that individual poses to himself or herself, if the individual does not pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or to another person. 
(3) A peace officer may use deadly force against fleeing persons only when both of the following are true:
(A) The peace officer has probable cause to believe that the person has committed, or intends to commit, a felony involving death or serious bodily injury.
(B) There is a threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to the peace officer or to another person if the subject is not immediately apprehended.
(4) For the purposes of this subdivision, “deadly force” means any use of force that creates a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury, including, but not limited to, the discharge of a firearm.
(5) This subdivision does not limit the ability of a peace officer to assert a defense to a charge of homicide as justifiable self-defense under Sections 196 and 197.
(e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2020.