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Comparing Police Reform Proposals From CA Police Unions, AG Becerra’s Office As Both Announce Broad Agendas

 Police watch as tear gas is deployed during demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death on May 31, 2020 in Santa Monica, California.
Police watch as tear gas is deployed during demonstrations in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death on May 31, 2020 in Santa Monica, California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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We’re starting to get details on exactly how police reform across California might shape up after the recent release of separate police reform agendas by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as well as three different police unions representing large cities and police departments.

Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) and San Jose Police Officers Association (SJPOA) took out a full page ad in a number of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post announcing the reform agenda, which includes creating a national use-of-force standard with a focus on de-escalation and proportional responses to situations, creating a database of officers fired for gross misconduct in an effort to prevent other agencies from hiring them and a publicly-available use-of-force website similar to the one the San Jose Police Department has.

On Monday, AG Becerra announced his own reform agenda, which, like the unions’ proposal, highlights things like training focusing on de-escalation and proportional situational responses as well as making sure officers who commit major infractions are decertified, but also takes other steps to outlaw certain practices like carotid holds and chokeholds as well as “find and bite” techniques used by canine officers. Additionally, it calls for a re-examination of police in addressing issues like mental health crises and homelessness, which they are not specifically trained to handle. The San Francisco Police Department recently announced that trained, unarmed professionals would be responding to noncriminal calls for things like mental health or school discipline instead of patrol officers.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll take a side-by-side look at these national reform agendas as well as reforms proposed by NYU Professor Barry Friedman in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed that would seek to more fundamentally rethink the idea of police responding to 911 calls, especially noncriminal ones.


Lisa Mascaro, chief congressional correspondent in Washington D.C. for the Associated Press; she tweets @LisaMascaro

Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General; he tweets @XavierBecerra

Robert Harris, a director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union representing Los Angeles Police Department officers, and an LAPD officer; LAPPL is one of three California police unions that proposed a national reform agenda

Jonathan M. Smith, executive director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, former chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice (2010-2015) which led the civil investigation of the Ferguson (Missouri) Police Department after the police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014; he tweets @JonSmithWLC