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Pasadena’s Assemblymember Introduces Bill Mandating Use of Force Training for Private Security Guards

Published on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 | 1:33 pm
Chris Holden

State Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, introduced legislation Tuesday that would require private security guards to undergo training on the use of force.

Assembly Bill 229 would mandate that the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services “develop curriculum and training courses on the appropriate use of force for private security services employees in consultation with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training,” according to a statement issued by Holden’s office. “Under current laws, no use of force training exists for private patrol operators.”

But Holden said the nature of their work makes it necessary for them to receive such instruction.

“When private security are responsible for the safety of the general public, those private operators must have the proper training in order to apply the appropriate use of force in any particular situation,” he said. “We put a lot of attention on our state’s peace officers, but private security, who sometimes are in similar circumstances, need comparable training.”

The bill was inspired in part by the death of a man who was restrained by security following an NBA exhibition game at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento in 2019.

A lawsuit filed by the family of Mario Matthews has claimed in a lawsuit that the Sacramento County Coroner acknowledged that Matthews’ death was due to restraint.

Matthews was handcuffed before a security guard “used his right knee to apply pressure to the side of Mario’s neck for approximately four and a half minutes,” the statement from Holden’s office said. “In addition to the initial two Universal Protection Security personnel, a third security officer placed himself on Mario’s back.”

Responding Sacramento police officers then arrived and “used maximum restraints; they tied his legs together with one strap and another strap around his waist,” the statement said. “For a total of 20 minutes, Mario was facedown with as many as four people on top of him. Mario became unresponsive and was taken to the hospital. He passed away two days later.

“What happened to Mario is unacceptable, and proper training will play [a] big role in avoiding unnecessary harm or death to others,” Holden said.

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