File this under terrible timing. There’s was a highly publicized shooting in California on Tuesday (see YouTube Shooter Identified as Nasim Najafi Aghdam, Angry About Demonetization and Report: Did Police Drop the Ball Questioning the YouTube Shooter?). Around the same time, California legislators were announcing unprecedented legislation limiting when police can use their firearms.
On the heels of police officers shooting a young, unarmed black man to death in Sacramento, California, last month, state lawmakers announced a first-of-its-kind bill on Monday that raises the standard for when officers may open fire.
The proposed legislation would change the guidance in California’s use of force laws so that police may open fire ”‘only when necessary’ rather than ‘when reasonable,’” Sacramento-based Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D), said at a press conference Tuesday.
Semantics. It’s a semantics change. Changed by people who’ve never been cops, no doubt.
The legislation is aimed at tackling the reality, as seen in studies, that police kill unarmed black men at disproportionate rates compared to unarmed white men. Supporters of the bill hope raising the standard for when lethal force is permitted will encourage officers to make de-escalation their first line of defense.
Here’s my biggest problem. It’s dangerous enough being a police officer without over-regulating the way the law is enforced. Yes, there are bad cops. No one with a brain is denying that.
But in most dangerous situations, they only have a split second to react. Putting them in a position where they have to second and third guess every decision they make gets people killed. It gets police killed. It gets the people they are trying to protect killed.
So here’s a different idea: better police training. Yeah?