SACRAMENTO — After the death of George Floyd, California legislators are pushing for a bill that would punish police officers who fail to intervene when witnessing potential excessive force.
The author of the bill, Assemblymember Chris Holden, says AB-1022 could end a police officer's career if they fail to intervene in any crimes committed by other officers who use excessive force. He says there is a growing movement throughout the country for change after George Floyd died in Minneapolis.
"There should have been a better understanding of training, implementation of good training, and then other officers intervening in an appropriate manner to make sure that the situation stayed under control," Holden says.
The bill would make bystander officers an accomplice to any crime committed by an officer using extreme force if they failed to step in. Holden says this measure would clarify current law enforcement training regulations that are already in place.
Ed Obayashi, a statewide police trainer, doesn't think this bill is necessary in California.
"It is in every California police sheriff’s department Use of Force Manual that we do have a duty to intercede," Obayashi said.
He's been training police officers for 25 years and says that if the bill passes, he's concerned about the safety risks it could have on officers.
"We don’t want officers out there to start second-guessing another officer that would place not just the officer's safety at risk, but the general public's," Obayashi added.
The Use of Force trainer says compared to California, the Minneapolis Police Department has completely different training regulations.
But Assemblymember Holden still thinks further police training in necessary so a death like George Floyd's doesn't happen again.
"This creates greater clarity so the public knows where the line in the sand is, the officers know clearly and start to be trained in a way to recognize that line in the sand, and that there’s respect, mutual respect that supports that," Holden noted.
So far, the bill has passed the Senate floor and lawmakers now have until August 31 to approve and send legislation to Gov. Gavin Newsom.