Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, introduced legislation Wednesday that would require police officers to physically stop excessive force they witness by another member of law enforcement and report the incident in real time to the dispatch or watch commander on duty.
Holden’s office said the law currently requires officers in California to intervene when they observe another officer use force beyond what is necessary, but there are not universal measures to determine that the officer actually intervened.
“We were outraged when we watched the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer from a knee to the neck,” Holden said. “Equally disturbing, was the lack of intervention from the police officers who witnessed a clear use of excessive force.”
The legislation — AB 1022 — would:
— prohibit retaliation against law enforcement officers that report violations of law or regulation of another officer to a supervisor;
— require an officer who fails to intercede to be disciplined in the same manner as the officer who used excessive force;
— establish a website that makes specified public records of officers available in a form searchable by each officer’s name, and allows members of the public to file citizen complaints;
— disqualify a person from being an officer if they have been found by a law enforcement agency that employs them to have either used excessive force that resulted in great bodily injury or death or to have failed to intercede in that incident as required by a law enforcement agency’s policies;
— make an officer who is present and sees another officer using excessive force, and fails to intercede as required by the policy of their employing law enforcement agency, despite having a present ability to intercede, an accessory in any crime committed by the other officer during the use of excessive force.
Holden represents California’s 41st Assembly District, which includes most of the San Gabriel Mountains and various foothill communities in Los Angeles County, and some areas of San Bernardino County.
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