Today's Law As Amended


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AB-1314 Law enforcement use of force settlements and judgements: reporting.(2019-2020)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police when an officer held his knee on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, resulting in his death.
(b) The outcry over this murder has resulted in demands for police reform across the state and the nation.
(c) For decades, Californians have experienced horrific injuries and death at the hands of police officers.
(d) These incidents often result in civil lawsuits and payouts made by cities, counties, and the state to the civilians harmed by the actions of sheriffs, police officers, and California Highway Patrol officers. These settlements and judgments are often agreed to in closed sessions at city council and board of supervisors meetings and in many instances cost tens of millions of dollars, which is entirely paid for by taxpayers.
(e) Individual officers do not pay towards these settlements. Instead, these settlements typically come from the general fund of the municipality involved, or if the law enforcement agency itself pays, then it is part of a specific budget line item set aside for settling officer misconduct litigation. Municipal budgets allocate funds to their law enforcement agencies with the expectation that they will be financially liable for their wrongdoing, year over year.
(f) Often times due to budget deficits, cities and counties do not have the funds to pay these settlements and use liability insurance or general obligation bonds procured by the municipality or state. Cities and counties pay annually for liability insurance, which is also used to cover trip-and-fall injuries and workers’ compensation claims, to cover the costs of settlements involving police misconduct, brutality, or death of a civilian by a police officer or sheriff.
(g) In 2019, the City of Sacramento paid an insurance company $2 million in taxpayer dollars to secure up to $35 million for settlements and judgments. Among the payouts made in 2019 was the city’s largest ever settlement, involving $5.2 million for a man who was so brutally beaten by a police officer that he requires intensive, life-long medical care.
(h) In 2017, the Los Angeles Police Department cost taxpayers $80 million settling lawsuits involving officer misconduct. Similarly, the County of Los Angeles paid out over $50 million in misconduct claims from 2015 to 2016, inclusive, the majority of which were excessive force claims. Shootings alone cost the County of Los Angeles $60 million between 2011 to 2016, inclusive.
(i) During the 2018–19 fiscal year, the County of Los Angeles paid over $16 million in judgments against the Sheriff’s Department, another $30 million in settlements against the department, and incurred an additional $80 million in litigation expenses on behalf of the department. According to the county’s annual report, “six of the nine most expensive settlements in FY 2018-19 stemmed from Law Enforcement excessive-force shooting fatalities involving the Sheriff’s Department.”
(j) If a municipality has exhausted their liability insurance, the board of supervisors or city council can authorize a general obligation bond to pay for these incidents of police misconduct and brutality. These types of general obligation bonds are so common that they are called Police Brutality Bonds by the Wall Street firms who profit from them. These bonds are paid for by taxpayers and take years to pay off due to additional fees and high interest rates.
(k) In 2009 and 2010, the City of Los Angeles issued $71.4 million in Police Brutality Bonds. Banks and other private firms collected more than $1 million in issuance fees on these two bonds. By the time these bonds are paid off, taxpayers will have handed over more than $18 million to investors—allowing Wall Street to profit from the death or serious injury of a civilian at the hands of a police officer.
(l) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to establish transparency requirements surrounding police use of force settlements and judgments against police and sheriff’s departments and the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

SEC. 2.

 Section 12525.3 is added to the Government Code, to read:

12525.3.
 (a) (1) On or before February 1 of each year, each municipality shall post on its internet website how much it spent on law enforcement use of force settlements and judgements during the previous year, broken down by individual settlement or judgment.
(2) If any settlements or judgements are paid for using municipal bonds, the municipality shall post on the internet website the amount of the bond, the time it will take the bond to mature, interest and fees paid on the bond, and the total future cost of the bond.
(3) The municipality shall also post on its internet website the amount of any settlements or judgements that were paid by insurance, broken down by individual settlement or judgment, and the amount of any premiums paid by the municipality for insurance against use of force settlements or judgements.
(b) (1) On or before February 1 of each year, the Transportation Agency shall post on its internet website how much it spent on use of force settlements and judgements during the previous year obtained against the Department of the California Highway Patrol, broken down by individual settlement or judgment.
(2) If any settlements or judgements are paid for using bonds, the agency shall post on the internet website the amount of the bond, the time it will take the bond to mature, interest and fees paid on the bond, and the total future cost of the bond.
(3) The agency shall also post on its internet website the amount of any settlements or judgements against the Department of the California Highway Patrol that were paid by insurance, broken down by individual settlement or judgment, and the amount of any premiums paid by the agency or department for insurance against use of force settlements or judgements.
(c) For purposes of this section, “municipality” means a city, county, or city and county with a police department or a sheriff’s department.
SEC. 3.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.