California NOW Joins in Supporting The Police Accountability and Community Protection Act

California NOW

As intersectional feminist, a young Black woman and as President of California NOW, Stephon Clark’s killing – the wanton disregard for human life displayed by the Sacramento Police officers involved fills me with righteous anger. 

There are two parallel paths that we must walk in seeking justice for Stephon, one is seeking individual officer accountability, the other is seeking systemic change at the police department and at city hall. Mayor Steinberg has made two statements that attempt to divert attention off of him and the Sacramento City Council. The first statement was that he’s incapable of “second guessing” the officers’ split second decisions and the other was that officers are demonstrating a bias toward Black people.

Both of these statements anger me for different reasons. It is the Mayor’s and the City Council’s job to enact and ensure implementation of policies governing the police department. The abject failure by all involved to do so demonstrates the same level of culpable indifference to Black and Brown lives as the acts of individual officers.

Despite numerous model policies available regarding responsible foot pursuit, as well as, the availability of CALEA agency accreditation, which West Sacramento Police Department has obtained, the Mayor, the City Council and the Sacramento Police Department chose not to professionalize the Sacramento Police Department.

California NOW is commending and will be supporting the ACLU Northern California and Assembly Member Shirley Weber for introducing The Police Accountability and Community Protection Act, that creates a statewide use of force policy that begins to tell police officers what they must do in equally valuing citizens’ lives. We also commend Senator Skinner for introducing SB 1421 that furthers accountability through public access.

There needs to be statewide minimum standards for police departments and officers. California NOW seeking Police Department Accountability will be advocating adoption and implementation of CALEA standards for police and sheriff departments throughout the state. Professionalizing police/sheriff departments furthers accountability, community protection and also has a profoundly important secondary effect – adopting CALEA agency accreditation increases the hiring and promotion of women, including women of color, which dramatically decreases use of excessive force.

No community needs to be policed, where harassment, violence and surveillance are used to discipline and control residents. By advocating change together, we can change the institutional devil’s bargain between local/state government and police departments in maintaining and enforcing policies steeped in racialized toxic masculinity.

California NOW will be joining Democracy Legacy Action Ally organizations at both the local and the state level to enact the Police Accountability and Community Protection Act. With the aid of DLA we can ACT up by Advocating  Change Together and REV it up by Registering, Educating and Voting.

Author: Kolieka Seigle, President of the Sacramento chapter of California Now

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