California Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) signed into law numerous sweeping “police reform” bills on Thursday, despite protests against the bills by dozens of law enforcement groups across the state, as reported by Fox News.
Newsom signed four different bills, each aimed at increasing punishments for police officers accused of misconduct, prohibiting certain methods from being used when restraining criminals, and more. At the signing ceremony, Attorney General Rob Bonta (D-Calif.), said that the bills were signed in response to a “crisis of trust” in law enforcement, without any evidence to back this assertion up.
The bills, Bonta said, would ban “dangerous holds that lead to asphyxia,” and introduce “multiple other mechanisms that improve accountability and oversight and transparency.”
However, over three dozen pro-law enforcement advocacy groups spoke out against the bills, saying that the language in all four bills was often unclear or vague, while some provisions allow for potential double jeopardy charges against officers, and that many disciplinary actions would be determined by a single oversight panel that could easily be corrupted or biased against police officers and in favor of victims.
The California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) pointed out that Senate Bill 2 “merely requires that the individual officer ‘engaged’ in serious misconduct – not that they were found guilty, terminated, or even disciplined.” Meanwhile, Assembly Bill 26 demands that law enforcement officers intervene if they believe a fellow officer is using excessive force with a suspect; the California Association of Highway Patrolmen (CAHP) criticized this bill by pointing out that if another officer arrives at the scene of a confrontation some time after the incident began, they may not have the full information needed to make an appropriate judgment call involving their fellow officer.
Other measures in the bills that Newsom signed include raising the minimum age to become a police officer in the state of California from 18 to 21, banning certain restraining techniques, and limiting the use of rubber bullets against rioters.
At the signing ceremony, Newsom said that he was “here as governor of California, mindful that we’re in a juxtaposition of being a leader on police reform and a lagger on police reform. We have a lot to be proud of but there’s areas where we have nothing to brag about.”
The bills are the latest in a long pattern of radical, anti-police bills that have been considered or signed into law across the country over the course of the last year. The movement to severely weaken, handicap, or even defund police departments across America began after a black man, George Floyd, died of a fentanyl overdose while in police custody in Minneapolis in May of 2020. The officer who arrested him, Derek Chauvin, was accused of murder and ultimately convicted after a highly-politicized trial, where political figures such as Joe Biden and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) interfered with the proceedings by publicly calling for him to be found guilty.
Far-left domestic terrorist organizations, including Black Lives Matter and Antifa, engaged in race riots across the country throughout the summer and into the fall, burning down dozens of cities and hundreds of businesses, assaulting hundreds of civilians and police officers, causing over $2 billion in damage nationwide, and killing over two dozen people in the streets. Out of the ashes of the damage rose the “Defund the Police” movement, led by BLM and progressive politicians such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), which has led to several efforts to defund or completely abolish police forces in several cities around the country.