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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

Governor Passes New California Law Against Racial Profiling

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires California police officers to document and publicise racial data of all stops.

California governor Jerry Brown has signed new laws that require police to record demographic data on police stops to reduce racial profiling and excessive force in law enforcement.

The bills were signed after a long-time national discussion on anti-racial profiling following the recent deaths of unarmed black people during encounters with police across the country, like Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old who was shot and killed during police stop in Ferguson, Missouri in August. In early September, many protesters rallied outside the governor’s office to support the legislation.

Melina Abdullah, Black Lives Matter organizer and Pan-African studies professor at California State University in Los Angeles, regards the bill as a favorable change and a result of efforts from the community.

“I think this is a tremendous step forward,” Abdullah said. “We did a lot of work. This is a community lead effort so we see this as a tremendous victory.”

The law signed on Saturday tries to measure racial profiling and the use of excessive force by police. It requires police to collect demographic data on the people they stop, including race and ethnicity, the reason for the encounter and the outcome. The bill also requires law enforcement to provide annual reports on all cases in which police are involved in uses of force that cause serious injury or death.

“Information will better equip ourselves to do a way better job than we are doing before,” LAPD Sergeant Marlon Marrache said.

The bills is one of the at least 40 new measures from 24 states across the country to address racial bias and police brutality. But according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LA has actually collected demographic data on police stops for dozens of years, similar to what the new bills call for.

“I don’t fear information,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. “What I fear is the information that is not processed correctly.”

Last year, LAPD recorded data for about 800,000 stops.

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