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California Bill Places Police in Greater Danger

California Bill Places Police in Greater Danger

Michael Dorstewitz By Friday, 22 June 2018 10:52 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

2018 is no time to be a cop — especially in California.

The FBI reported that 2016 saw a huge spike in the killings of on-duty law enforcement officers. A total of 66 were killed that year.

That “spike” was nothing compared to the following year — 129 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2017.

This year is looking to be even worse. The April 24 shooting death of Dallas cop Rogelio Santander made him the 24th officer killed in the line of duty in 2018. On the same date in 2017, 14 officers were killed.

But California now wants to tie officers’ hands behind their backs by changing the rules of engagement as it were.

California Assembly Bill 931 — also known as the Police Accountability and Community Protection Act — would change the state's use of lethal force standard from "reasonable" to "necessary," the Sacramento Bee reported.

Every officer using lethal force would be subject to a panel of Monday morning quarterbacks looking over his shoulder.

Using the new standard, the panel would determine whether an officer’s use of deadly force was necessary, as opposed to whether it was reasonable.

American Civil Liberties Union legislative advocate Lizzie Buchen said the new standard would permit law enforcement to use deadly force only if “there were no other reasonable alternatives to the use of deadly force.” Without surprise, the ACLU supports the change.

So in the split second available to an officer, he has to mentally go through the list of available alternatives and decide whether each is reasonable?

Stated differently, consider this hypothetical: Someone points what appears to be a gun at an officer in a darkened alley. The officer draws his own weapon and fires, killing him.

Using the legal “reasonable man” standard, his actions, however regrettable they may become, would be legal. Any reasonable person, confronted with the same set of circumstances, would do the same.

Add an investigation to the mix, revealing that the gun was unloaded, or it was inoperable, or maybe it was a toy gun. Given those additional factors, was the shooting necessary? Probably not, and because of that, the cop may find himself in a world of legal hurt.

The Peace Officers Research Association of California referred to the change in standards as a "dangerous rush to judgment" — an understatement in my view.

"We are concerned that this reactionary legislation will handcuff peace officers and their abilities to keep communities safe," it said in a statement. "Uses of force incidents occur quickly, and while we have always supported greater training and body cameras, this legislation takes a dangerous new step."

As asinine as the proposed change is, it’s not surprising. The seeds of America’s distrust of police, planted by the Black Lives Matter movement, have taken root, as evidenced by the NFL’s “take a knee” protests started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Most recently, Occupy Wall Street openly promoted the murder of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, and a Kansas Democratic candidate for state attorney general is being disowned by her own party for promoting an anti-cop poster.

Lawrence attorney Sarah Swain displayed a poster depicting Wonder Woman strangling a police officer, shown gasping for breath, with a lasso. Although she’s the only Democratic candidate in the race, the state party is calling on Swain to end her campaign.

The state police agree.

“At a time when public servants in Kansas are giving their lives to protect the public at an alarming rate, we will not allow the senseless, divisive actions of an obnoxious few to succeed,” the Kansas State Troopers Association posted on Facebook.

It’s not just Kansas — it’s nationwide, and it has to stop. And asinine proposals that place officers at greater risk won’t end it — it’ll make it worse.

Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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2018 is no time to be a cop — especially in California.
california, bill, police
Friday, 22 June 2018 10:52 AM
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