Newsom Signs Controversial Police Reform Bills

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.
September 30, 2021 Updated: September 30, 2021

During an appearance at Rowley Gym in Gardena, California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a package of police reform bills into law on Sept. 30 intending to hold officers accountable for misconduct and setting restrictions on certain uses of force, despite police unions’ disapproval of the legislation.

One of the bills approved, Senate Bill 2, decertifies law enforcement officers who engage in misconduct and preventing them from moving to a different law enforcement agency.

Although Newsom and his colleagues consider the bills a victory, state law enforcement unions—the Los Angeles Police Protective League and the San Francisco and San Jose Police Officers Associations—spoke out against Senate Bill 2 and the other signed legislation, saying it allows for decertification of officers when it comes to traffic tickets, unfounded complaints, and unsubstantiated allegations.

“The biased panel established in his bill has zero authority to decertify an officer,” law enforcement officers said in a joint statement. “They can recommend it to the POST commission, but they can’t do it. The POST commission must vote by a two-thirds margin to decertify a peace officer after a hearing that accords officers their due process rights.”

The legislation signed into law includes the raising of the age requirement for officers from 18 to 21 and the prohibition of firing rubber bullets at peaceful demonstrators. Officers who show excessive force, racial bias, or dishonesty are now at risk of losing their badges.

With the laws officially passing, the police unions also urged state leaders to focus on lowering the trend of state-wide shootings, homicides, and robberies.

Newsom and lawmakers proudly applauded the legislation while standing side by side with families who have lost a loved one to an officer-involved shooting.

“Today marks another step toward healing and justice for all,” Newsom said. “Too many lives have been lost due to racial profiling and excessive use of force. We cannot change what is past, but we can build accountability, root out racial injustice, and fight systemic racism. We are all indebted to the families who have persevered through their grief to continue this fight and work toward a more just future.”

Sen. Steve Bradford said, “This bill is not just about holding bad officers accountable for their misconduct, it’s also about rebuilding trust between our communities and law enforcement.”

The following police reform bills were signed:

SB 2—peace officers: certification and civil rights

SB 16—peace officer release of records

AB 26—addresses peace officers use of force

AB 48—addresses law enforcement use of force

AB 89—peace officers certification program

AB 481—funding, acquisition, and use of military equipment

AB 490—law enforcement agency policies: arrest and positional asphyxia

AB 958—peace officers: law enforcement gangs

Vanessa Serna is a California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times.