Police Abuse

California Police Unions Once Again Side With Bad Cops To Kill a Good Bill

Law enforcement lobby holds off bill that would decertify officers who are guilty of misconduct.

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California is one of only five states that does not have a formal process for decertifying bad cops to keep them from finding patrol work. And it looks like it's going to stay that way.

In the middle of a massive push for policing reforms in America, law enforcement unions have defeated S.B. 731, a California bill that would have created a commission to hear cases of cops who have engaged in misconduct and determine whether they'd be stripped of their certifications.

Introduced for the first time in 2019 by state Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), S.B. 731 passed the California Senate unanimously but didn't make it to the California Assembly floor before the legislative session ended Tuesday.

The Associated Press notes that law enforcement unions scrambled to lobby lawmakers to stop Bradford's bill from progressing without numerous changes. A representative from police unions in Los Angeles and San Francisco told the A.P. the bill was "deeply flawed."

Several law enforcement unions in the state say they want a process in place to decertify bad cops. They even made a web page to insist that they support things like a database of officers who have been fired for misconduct, and "a fair, reasonable and workable decertification process." But they object to Bradford's commission because only three of the nine members would be police officers. Four of the other members would be members of nonprofit or academic institutions and community-based organizations that have experience on "issues related to police misconduct." One member would be a citizen who has been a survivor of police misconduct (or a relative of somebody who did not survive misconduct). And one would be an attorney with "experience involving oversight of police officers." Police unions determined that this newly created board would be, in the Associated Press's words, "inherently biased against officers."

Why would we assume that people with experience in issues related to police misconduct would be inherently biased against the police officers their commission reviews? Does that also mean the officers on the commission would be biased in favor of the cops?

The cops and the unions want too much control over what is and is not considered "misconduct." Time and again, Americans have seen these organizations use their power to defend and make excuses for terrible police behavior. Their ideal form of "due process" for police officers facing misconduct allegations is an ostensibly civilian commission that police control.

The Associated Press notes that other policing reforms pushed by lawmakers also failed at the end of the session. Lawmakers were not able to expand the types of police misconduct records that could be made public, to require that police intervene when they see fellow officers using inappropriate levels of force, or to limit the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters. Those proposals all failed.

But it wasn't a complete loss. A bill to ban chokeholds and neck restraints passed, along with a bill to require the California Attorney General's office to investigate whenever a police officer kills an unarmed civilian.

Nevertheless, the defeat of Bradford's bill shows exactly how powerful police unions remain even with the citizenry generally in agreement that misconduct by law enforcement too often goes unpunished.

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  1. it does sound like a bad law considering the people it would put in oversight. I’d rather see something like the jury pool of citizens. why does it have to be someone who was abused or an academic who probably already hates cops or even a cop.
    That said since when do unions get to determine what laws get to be passed. California is run by Unions even though they are a minority of the voters. Have a relative who is a Union member and refuses to talk to me anymore because I told him that.

    1. I don’t see you also objecting to having three cops on the commission.

      1. I think he did? Even though it’s not very clearly written.

        1. Yeah he did and I like the idea of a citizen grand jury type of system.

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    2. “”Police unions determined that this newly created board would be, in the Associated Press’s words, “inherently biased against officers.””

      As opposed to inherently biased for officers…

  2. “California is one of only five states that does not have a formal process for decertifying bad cops to keep them from finding patrol work.”

    Out of curiosity, which are the other four states?

    1. In practice? I think those four states are north, south, east, and west U.S.

    2. With nothing to support my claim (other than observation), New Jersey is one of them.

      1. New Jersey encourages & incentivizes misconduct, on an epic scale. It’s like a past time here.

    3. further curiosity. What states have actually decertified any cops?

  3. See, this type of thing right here is why it’s so stupid to be talking about “Democrat Mayors” or focusing on whichever team is in charge when it comes to police misconduct. The problems associated with police misconduct run far deeper than which tribe is in charge, it is fundamentally institutional in nature. The police demand the right to police themselves and their own misconduct, REGARDLESS of whether the city is run by a Democrat Mayor or a Republican Mayor. And they have the institutional and historical power to get away with it in virtually every case. Just look at the example of New York City. De Blasio ran on an explicit campaign of reforming NYPD, he has been fought at every turn by NYPD, his “citizen commission” to review police misconduct is a sad joke but it is the best he could do given the realities of NYPD and city council obstinance to any nature of real reform. It is the same in this case.

    The problem here is that the police have too much institutional power, period. Structural reform is needed, not just “more diversity training” or “more threat reduction protocols”.

    1. When Democrat mayors and governors blame Trump for things that are under their exclusive control, not federal control, it is they who have politicized the disruptions.

    2. Jeff is going “full jeff” or whatever that means.

      Seriously though, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Small victories are still victories.

      That said, this decision sucks.

    3. The problem here is that the police have too much institutional power, period. Structural reform is needed, not just “more diversity training” or “more threat reduction protocols”.

      You are correct, and yet, that is all that will ever happen.

    4. “See, this type of thing right here is why it’s so stupid to be talking about “Democrat Mayors” or focusing on whichever team is in charge when it comes to police misconduct.“

      Of course, it’s the California House (3/4 Democrats) that didn’t pass this legislation.

      1. If the police unions are that powerful, still, in a state run that completely by the Democrats, it’s because the Democrats want them to be.

      2. It’s also the Kalifornia house that DID pass the bill to legalize pedophilia.

    5. The terrorist organization known as the B.A.R. Association would never allow it’s private standing army to be put on a leash. So, “first, kill all the lawyers”.

  4. “Why would we assume that people with experience in issues related to police misconduct would be inherently biased against the police officers…?”

    When one of the members of the council is referred to as a “survivor” of cops, one might reasonably suspect that person of some bias.

    “Does that also mean the officers on the commission would be biased in favor of the cops?”

    Once again, yes, that’s a pretty reasonable assumption, or at least a plausible concern. Assuming bias is a concern to begin with, which I don’t think it should be. As a human being, I understand bias to be inherent in everyone based on their experience on the subject at hand, which should be utilized via balanced appointments and not foolishly attempt to mitigate.

    1. I don’t see “survivors” as inherently biased against cops. I see them as inherently biased against abusive cops, bad cops, and a rigged system.

      And of course there’s always the old saw about smoke and fire. Cops treat everybody they meet as guilty and don’t give them a chance to prove their innocence; “show it to the judge” as the saying goes. Well, here is their turn to show it to the judges, and karma’s a bitch.

      1. I definitely see where you’re coming from in so far as it equates to “not all ____ are ___” kind of a position. While they all (victims – not academics) have a valuable perspective to offer the council (though I hope victimhood is not the only prereq), I believe it’s naive to think that someone referred to as a “survivor” of conduct doesn’t have an inherent bias against an organization that perpetuated that conduct.

        There are exceptions, of course. Masochists and psychopaths, for example.

  5. Guys, you want your daily dose of oh-shit-deep-state-conspiracy-theory fodder?

    Google: Transition Integrity Project

    Seriously.

    1. Michael Steele and John Podesta… enough said.

    2. This election will be an epic shit show no matter the outcome. I’m beginning to think 2021 will be the year of our 2nd civil war.

  6. What’s the breakdown of the vote? I’d like to see who’s in the pocket of Big Union so I can gauge how long we’re going to continue to hear the “it’s all just racist” narrative.

    1. What vote? According to the article, they ran out the clock. They managed to delay until the legislative session closed.

      1. Ah, no wonder I couldn’t find a vote breakdown. I skimmed the article and immediately started googling for the vote record. Clever though, no one on record as ‘voting against’.

  7. “A representative from police unions in Los Angeles and San Francisco told the A.P. the bill was “deeply flawed.”

    Why are we talking about the union when we should be talking about the politicians and the party that killed this bill?

    The California legislature is effectively a single party government, and it’s no different from other single party governments in that it serves the vested interests of the party rather than the voters.

    The solution to the problem of a single party state has little or nothing to do with any union. The solution to that problem is for the voters to vote for a second party. Until the voters are willing to vote for a second party, they will continue to suffer all the problems that are typically associated with a single party state.

    The problem with the voters of California is that too many of them don’t care what the solutions to their problems are if it means voting for a Republican, and I can’t help but wonder if that same psychiatric condition is affecting some of the staff at Reason–if they can write an article about an issue like this and never bother to notice or mention that we’re talking about a one party state.

    Do you think the problems in China, Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela are primarily because of the unions, too? The reason those governments aren’t run in the interests of the people is because the people can’t throw the bums out with their vote. If they were allowed to throw the bums out with their vote–and refused to elect anyone other than the same party that’s ravaged their interests for decades–I might stop feeling sorry for them.

    Shouldn’t we feel the same way about Californians suffering under the profound stupidity of their narrow-mindedness?

    1. Idiot Response: Ken thinks voting for Republicans is the solution to all our problems.

      ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF!

      That’s not what I said.

      I said that the solution to the typical problems of one party states is to have competing parties, and if the reason we don’t have competing parties in California is because the voters are too stupid to vote for any but the same party that’s screwed them for decades, then the solution is for them to stop being so stupid.

      1. Ken hacked his own user name

        1. He’s autosocking!

    2. You just think voting for Republicans is the solution to all our problems.

      1. Should have refreshed before commenting. Damn!

      2. Yep, and also… arf.

    3. Do you have any evidence that having Republicans in charge would make police misconduct issues any better?

      Are there one-party Republican states making sweeping police reforms?

      Are the “Republican Mayors” firing bad cops and instituting reforms?

      The problems with police misconduct go beyond which tribe is in charge, as evidenced that police reform doesn’t gain much traction ANYWHERE, either in red states or in blue states.

      1. “Do you have any evidence that having Republicans in charge would make police misconduct issues any better?”

        Yes, that’s exactly what I said. I said that putting Republicans in charge would solve all our problems.

        Either that, or I said that the problems associated with a single party state will continue in California so long as California is a single party state.

        Either one. Take your pick. What I said depends on you feel. Isn’t that the way things work in your magical world of make-believe?

        1. Oh don’t be coy. You want Californians to vote for more Republicans. Why? Is there some reason to believe that there would be better outcomes with regards to police misconduct if there were more Republican representation in California state government? If there is no reason to believe that having more Republicans in California state government would lead to better outcomes, then why wouldn’t it be any more stupid to vote for Republicans, than to vote for Democrats? Do you just want affirmative action for Republicans or something?

          1. ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF! ARF!

      2. Well no knock raids, civil asset forfeiture reform, punishing police for falsified reports are all reforms taking place in red states and not in blue states

        1. The reason New York refuses to legalize marijuana isn’t because the Republicans are in charge. It’s because they’re a one party state, and the party is concerned with the law enforcement unions that influence the nominating process far more than they’re concerned about the voters. Marijuana would have gone the same way in California, but California has a referendum process to bypass the legislature. New York has no ballot initiative process. If you can’t get it through the single party that controls the government, you can’t get it.

          1. What are you gonna do if you don’t like the way your representative votes, vote for a Republican?!

            New Yorkers are too stupid for that. Like a battered wife, they’ll keep bailing their husband out of jail over and over again. This time he’s changed! Now it’s gonna be different.

    4. Shouldn’t we feel the same way about Californians suffering under the profound stupidity of their narrow-mindedness?

      And by the way, Ken. When did you become a Marxist? Because you certainly have the whole “false consciousness” thing down pat. So Californians are too stupid to know what their “real interests” are, and so they just habitually vote for Democrats as if they were ‘battered housewives’ or some such? This is patronizing garbage, Ken. First, I have never once heard you use such patronizing language towards Republicans who habitually vote for one-party Republican governance in places like Alabama or Texas. Second, how dare you attempt to dictate to others what their “true interests” are. You are not them. You have no idea what truly motivates their decisions just like they have no idea what truly motivates yours. You have no more right to tell them what to do than they do to tell you what to do. This is just like the Thomas Frank garbage about patronizing faux pity for Kansans who vote for Team Red. It’s arrogant filth and it’s beneath you, Ken.

      1. So, how many sock puppets are there in the Tonyverse?

  8. Even the LA times may be catching on to the realities of the quagmire that the left has created for itself:

    But with attention focused on the state’s myriad other troubles, “the moment is beginning to close,” said Melina Abdullah, head of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, which sponsored the Bradford bill. She believes legislators used the abbreviated session as “an excuse” to avoid crossing unions.

    1. Of note, it was the Organization Black Lives Matter that had as part of its grand theme to ‘fix America’… “strengthening public sector unions”.

      Welcome to strong public sector unions…

      1. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.

  9. A bill to ban chokeholds and neck restraints passed,

    Trump literally signed an executive order that incentivized the states to do this exact thing. I’m waiting for the California political class to give Trump credit for this much-needed move.

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  12. A bill to ban chokeholds and neck restraints passed

    The flying suplex and camel clutch are both still acceptable.

    1. Powerbombing someone through a table is probably covered by qualified immunity. To my knowledge there’s no case law on it, so the first one is free.

  13. Why stop there. Same is with when the teachers union protects it’s members from being fired, or prosecuted for sexual acts with students. This would be good too for public sector who are allowed to just transfer to another gov. dept. Then I could get behind a change.

  14. We will never get real reform as long as the Democrats are in control. They are beholden to public employee unions and they serve their Masters and do their bidding — regardless of whether or not it hurts residents.

  15. “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.” ― Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

  16. Hey, bleu states got to keep their slaves in line, chill. Nancy Pelosi is eatin some fineass ice cream right now and doesn’t need your sniveling to harsh her mellow.

    1. as Animal Farm stated it “some pigs are more equal then other pigs”

  17. The corrupt government pandering to special interests is what killed “the bill”. Though, it probably doesn’t matter. The certification is only the statutory side of the equation. The authority of any police officer comes from the oath of office and nothing else. The very moment one of them or any public offic-ial exceeds their jurisdiction in any way, they automatically vacate that office. Period, the end. Their authority is at that very point nullified and to continue to act as a police officer, is to act in fraud.
    A claim needs to be made not by the state or by the department, but by the injured party as Tort litigation in a federal court, not state court.
    Or you can leave it in their hands and let them just jerk you around for several years until you give up.

    1. “The authority of any police officer comes from the oath of office and nothing else” These oaths of office mean absolutely nothing to the criminal democrats running the Peoples Republik of Kalifornia (PRK).

      1. Well, they aren’t going to remove themselves. Shit or get off the pot.

  18. “In the middle of a massive push for policing reforms in America, law enforcement unions have defeated S.B. 731, a California bill ” however the Peoples Republik of Kalifornia (PRK) did pass a bill making pedophilia legal. so it all averages out.

  19. Its funny how you think any bill devised by the cali legislature is a “good” bill.

    The state is devolving into a hellhole of mismanagemenet and sjw boondoggles.

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