CA Lawmaker: Local District Attorneys Too Often Give Police Benefit of Doubt

AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Randy Pench
AP Photo/The Sacramento Bee, Randy Pench

California Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) believes local district attorneys too often give police the benefit of the doubt in investigations where police fatally shoot suspects, and he wants to remedy that by adding an oversight board to impartially investigate every shooting.

The Sacramento Bee reported that McCarty’s proposal comes on the heels of “a number of intensely scrutinized police killings,” including “the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York.”

In light of these and other fatal incidents in California, McCarty said there is both a national and local “appetite” for creating such an oversight/investigatory board. He said leaving the matter in the hands of local district attorneys won’t work because those attorneys “typically have close ties to the police departments whose officers they are investigating.”

McCarty’s bill is Assembly Bill 86 (AB 86). It would require “a law enforcement panel, likely within the California Department of Justice … [to] study each case of a California police officer shooting someone and issue a recommendation.”

McCarty said the panels would not exist for criminal actions against police, but for recommendation and oversight purposes only.

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