San Diego

Police Organizations Reverse Stance on CA Use of Force Bill

The California Highway Patrol, California Police Chiefs Association, and the Peace Officers Research Association of California announced Thursday they are no longer opposed to a bill that could change the way officers are allowed to use deadly force.

If passed, San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber’s AB 392 would limit officers’ use of deadly force to situations where there is "an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to themselves or others."

It changes language regarding lethal force to be used when deemed "necessary” as opposed to the current wording, “reasonable.”

IT would be one of the toughest police accountability bills in the country.

Last week, during a San Diego City Council meeting, San Diego Chief of Police David Nisleit spoke out against the bill from passing at the City Council. He said AB 392’s language went too far and would force his officers in the field to second guess their decisions and would therefore, put their lives at risk.

Despite his opposition, the bill passed with two dissenting councilmembers.

Other police groups were originally against it as well, arguing officers might second guess their actions, putting their lives at risk.

But now, some of the language of the bill has been revised.

The CHP, CPCA, and PORAC have not responded to NBC 7’s requests for comment regarding their change of support. 

Mayor Gavin Newsom, Senate Pro-Tem Toni Atkins, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon also announced his support for the bill.

The family of Alfred Olango, a man who was shot and killed by El Cajon Police Department officers in 2016, called the agencies’ stance reversals a step in the right direction. Some family members say the police organizations have been the biggest obstacle with this bill.

“This is a turning point,” Olango’s father Richard Olango Abuka said.

His brother Tony said the support of police agencies is evidence that “our voices are actually being heard.”

The District Attorney’s Office determined that the police were justified in the deadly shooting. Olango’s family doesn’t think it should have ever come to that point, and they believe AB 392 will make tragedies like theirs less common.

"[Assemblywoman Weber] has a voice to lay a foundation for what we are speaking,” Olango’s niece Jenny Peterson said. “A call to come and save him ended up killing him. Those situations cannot proceed.”

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