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AB-1709 Law enforcement: use of force.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 07/21/2020 09:00 PM
AB1709:v93#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 21, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  June 30, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  July 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  June 06, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 25, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 11, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1709


Introduced by Assembly Member Weber
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer)

February 22, 2019


An act to amend Section 835a of the Penal Code, relating to law enforcement.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1709, as amended, Weber. Law enforcement: use of force.
Existing law authorizes a peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense to use objectively reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape, or to overcome resistance. Existing law specifies that a peace officer who is making an arrest need not retreat or desist from their efforts by reason of resistance or threatened resistance of the person being arrested.
Existing law, except as specified, makes a public entity liable for injury proximately caused by an act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of employment if the act or omission would, apart from this provision, have given rise to a cause of action against that employee or their personal representative.
This bill would remove the specification that a peace officer making an arrest need not desist in their efforts because of resistance or threatened resistance from the person being arrested. The bill would also require a peace officer to attempt to control an incident through deescalation tactics, as defined, in an effort to reduce or avoid the need to use force, to render medical aid immediately or as soon as feasible, and to intervene to stop a violation of law or an excessive use of force by another peace officer.
Under existing law, a peace officer is justified in using deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes, based on the totality of the circumstances, that such force is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or another person, or 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.
This bill would define “necessary” to mean that, as specified, 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.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


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) A 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, 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 a 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 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.
(e) A peace officer shall do all of the following:
(1) Attempt to control an incident through deescalation tactics in an effort to reduce or avoid the need to use force.
(2) Render medical aid immediately or as soon as feasible.
(3) Intervene to stop a violation of law or an excessive use of force by another peace officer.
(f) 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) “Deescalation” means taking an action or communicating verbally or nonverbally during a potential force encounter in an attempt 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 use of force or with a reduction to the force necessary. Deescalation tactics include, but are not limited to, warnings, calling upon non-law enforcement resources, verbal persuasion, and tactical repositioning.
(3) “Feasible” means capable of being done or carried out without unreasonably increasing the risk to the officer or another person.
(4) 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.
(5) “Necessary” means that, based on the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable 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.

(5)

(6) “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.