JOINT PRESS RELEASE – A CALL TO MEET THIS MOMENT OF CIVIL UNREST
For Immediate Release June 9, 2020
The League of Women Voters of Sacramento County (LWVSC), a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The LWVSC has established a Criminal Justice Reform Committee.
Black Woman Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) Sacramento is a nonpartisan political organization whose mission is to activate, motivate, promote, support, and educate African-American women about the political process, encourage involvement, and to affirm our commitment to, and solving of, those problems affecting the African-American community. BWOPA Sacramento is urging everyone to get politically involved by joining the Social Justice PolitiCorp for Sacramento County (socialjusticesac.org) as a means to crowdsource politics and keep elected officials accountable for advancing social justice
In his June 5 public statement, Mark Baldassare, President and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, asked us to acknowledge what we have witnessed: “The horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers last week was a shocking illustration of the long history of violence against African Americans in this country. It unleashed a wave of pain and rage that has engulfed our communities.”
The League of Women Voters of the United States and of California have issued statements in alliance with the Black community and civil rights movement as our moral imperative and fundamentally tied to our mission of empowering voters and defending democracy.
As Black mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and cousins, members of BWOPA have felt an especially deep pain in our hearts hearing George Floyd as a grown man, calling for his deceased mother as he took his last breaths while being murdered by police officers. Enough is Enough. As others may have been traumatized seeing a video of a real human being’s life being unlawfully taken, we are hurting. George Floyd could have been our son, brother, grandson, nephew or cousin. Any one of our members could have been Breonna Taylor who would have turned 27 years old this past Friday. She was unlawfully gunned down in her home by police on March 13. All of us have a moral obligation to do everything possible to prevent such violence from reoccurring.
We the LWVSC and BWOPA-Sacramento ask that our elected officials immediately commence the following actions to prevent further such violence against the Black community:
Carotid Restraint Control Hold
We agree with Governor Newsom’s recent announcement that the Carotid Restraint Control Hold in California should be prohibited. The quick responsive action by Sacramento’s Mayor, City Council and Police Chief in eliminating this form of potential lethal force is a welcomed step in the right direction in updating its use-of-force policies. That respiratory neck restraint hold should never be used as it can cause secondary injuries or death by asphyxiation; restricting the person’s ability to BREATHE.
Law Enforcement Accountability
Existing law grants the California Attorney General direct supervision over every district attorney and sheriff and over other law enforcement officers as may be designated by law, in all matters pertaining to the duties of their respective officers, and may require any of said officers to make reports concerning the investigation, detection, prosecution, and punishment of crime in their respective jurisdictions as to the Attorney General may seem advisable. (Cal. Const. Art. V, Sec. 13.)
On May 20, 2020, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued an Information Bulletin to Executives of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies concerning AB 392 Deadly Force (Chapter 170, Statutes of 2019), and its companion training bill, SB 230 (Chapter 285, Statutes of 2019) and its policy mandates. Although this bulletin was issued to executives, ultimately elected officials are accountable for ensuring that state policy mandates are implemented through the county executive or city manager. These executives serve at the pleasure of, in our case, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and Sacramento City Council, respectively. However, county sheriffs are elected officials; they are both policy makers and executives.
We ask that the County Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff take the following actions:
- Provide and require all sworn peace officers to wear and activate Body Worn Cameras when engaging members of the public.
- Sacramento County Board of Supervisors establish a Civilian Oversight Board, that includes staff support from the County Executive, with authority to recommend modifications to the Sheriff Department budget and determine compliance with AB 392 and SB 230.
- As a policy, order the County Executive to establish a vetting/employee screening process that would prohibit the hiring and retention of peace officers with prior misconduct involving excessive use of force.
We ask that the City of Sacramento Mayor and City Council take the following actions:
- Convene a joint meeting with the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission (SCPRC) and City Council to define how the City Manager will assure resources and access to the police department staff are sufficient for the SCPRC to carry out its charge as mandated in the City Code Chapter 2.110 (ordinance 2016-0055§2).
- Convene a Public Hearing to discuss recommendations made by the Sacramento Community Police Review Commission on the Sacramento Police Department’s Use of Force Policies, compliance with AB 392 and SB 230 and recommendations made by the Department of Justice.
- Direct the City Manager, and through the City Manager, the Police Chief to convene, at least biannually, Townhall meetings with community activists, stakeholders (known to work on criminal justice reform and social justice issues) and residents on its Use-of-Force Policies and Community-Oriented Policing; and to issue an Annual Report for Discussion at a City Council meeting.
We are a voice for discussion around these issues of concern to our collective community.
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