Criminal Defense in Orange County

After Amendments, CA Police Body Camera Bill Moves Forward

Due to some last minute scrambling by assembly members, a controversial bill requiring the use of body cameras by California police officers advanced in the state legislature. On April 30, Assembly Bill 66 was approved by the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee and will now move on for further consideration.

According to The Sacramento Bee, assembly members had to race to make amendments to the bill to secure the votes it needed to advance. The key detail in the bill's provisions addressed exactly when officers would be allowed watch footage following a lethal use of force. The bill had recently been changed to allow local departments to decide when an officer involved in a deadly incident could review body camera footage. However, when it appeared as if the bill would still not get the votes it needed, a further change to allow most officers to review the footage before writing an incident report was also applied.

Law enforcement agencies have supported the use of body cameras in California—and some departments, like Oakland, already use them—but have been extremely critical of Assembly Bill 66, which they consider "constraining" and "heavy-handed." The amended bill only moved forward with one deciding vote as many assembly members abstained from the vote altogether.

A tool to rebuild trust?

Many experts and legislators in California and nationwide believe that police body cameras could be a critical tool in evaluating violent incidents and in holding officers responsible for any misconduct. Proponents of AB 66 believe that the new bill amendment will continue to allow police to doctor incident reports in their favor.

Law enforcement representatives, however, believe that the ability to review footage before writing an official report could be valuable tool for officers. "This is when things get very blurry. Things happen very quickly,” said law enforcement lobbyist Tim Yaryan about the bill controversy. “This is exactly and precisely when officers need to have that review.”

What is agreed upon is that, in light so many high-profile and controversial police shooting incidents all over the country, there needs to be a significant changes to law enforcement policy to address public concern. "We know that we’re in a crisis in this state,” said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who was instrumental in getting the bill through its difficult vote. "As legislators, we must move forward to make sure we respond to this issue.”

If you have been charged with a crime, then it is highly recommended that you speak with a legal representative as soon as possible. At The Law Office of Barney B. Gibbs, Mr. Gibbs is an AV Preeminent® Rated attorney who has successfully navigated more than 2,500 cases in the local court system. He has built our firm's reputation on aggressive, reliable, knowledgeable representation and is always a staunch advocate for every client we take on.

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