Two bills by Assemblyman and former Pasadena Mayor and City Councilman Chris Holden regarding police use of force and corporate racial inclusion will be considered by Senate committees this month.
AB1022, which would require police officers to intervene and report officers who use excessive force, will be reviewed by the Senate Public Safety Committee on Friday.
AB979, which requires publicly held corporations headquartered in California to have people from an underrepresented community serve as board members, will be heard by the Senate Finance and Banking Committee on Aug. 13.
AB1022 establishes clear guidelines for police responsibility and accountability when witnessing excessive force by another member of law enforcement. If passed, a police officer’s “Duty to Intercede” would include physically stopping the excessive use of force.
“We were outraged when we watched the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer from a knee to the neck,” Holden said in a prepared statement. “Equally disturbing was the lack of intervention from the police officers who witnessed a clear use of excessive force.”
California law requires police officers to intercede when present and observing another officer using force that is beyond that which is necessary, but there are no universal measures used to determine that an officer has in fact interceded.
A recent survey by the Program for Public Consultation (PPC) at the University of Maryland found that the majority of Americans now support police reforms.
The respondents who were a representative sample of American voters were asked about 10 current police reform proposals currently in Congress.
“From Rodney King in 1991 to Stephon Clark in 2018, California has a bad history with excessive use of force by police officers,” continued Holden. “With protection from the law, this legislation empowers police officers to do the right thing.”
The new legislation also includes the following provisions:
• Prohibits retaliation against officers who report violations of law or regulation of another officer to a supervisor.
• Requires an officer who fails to intercede be disciplined in the same manner as the officer who used excessive force.
• Establishes an Internet website that makes specified public records of peace officers available in a form searchable by each officer’s name, and allows members of the public to file citizen complaints
• Disqualifies a person from being a peace officer if they have been found by a law enforcement agency that employs them to have either used excessive force that resulted in great bodily injury or death or to have failed to intercede in that incident as required by a law enforcement agency’s policies.
• Makes a peace officer who is present and observes another peace officer using excessive force, and fails to intercede as required by the policy of their employing law enforcement agency, despite having a present ability to intercede, an accessory in any crime committed by the other officer during the use of excessive force.
AB979 requires publicly held corporations headquartered in California to have at least one director from an underrepresented community by the close of 2021.
“Corporations have money, power, and influence,” Holden said. “If we are going to address racial injustice and inequity in our society, it’s imperative that corporate boards reflect the diversity of our state. One great benefit of this action – corporations with ethnically diverse boards have shown to outperform those that lack diversity.”
Soon after the social unrest following the killing of Floyd, many corporations publicly stated their support for racial diversity.
Critics, however, have pointed out that this public support for social justice movements often does not lead to long-term structural change in hiring and retention policies of a diverse staff and leadership.
The Harvard Law School Missing Pieces Report: The 2018 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards found that out of 1,222 new board members of Fortune 100 companies, 77 percent were white.
In addition to the 2021 benchmark, AB979 also requires corporate boards to include two members from underrepresented communities for corporations with more than four members, while corporations with more than nine must have a minimum of three by 2022.