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California governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation for a new law designed to guard people of color against racial profiling at the hands of police officers.

This act by the state comes just a few days after the New York Police Department said they would begin tracking officers’ use of excessive force.

The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, announced by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber, states that every time an officer stops a person, the incident must be reported to the California’s Attorney General. After the report, the Attorney General will determine the next steps.

Colorlines listed the requirements of each report:

  • The time, date and location of the stop.
  • The perceived race or ethnicity, gender and approximate age of the person stopped.
  • The reason for the stop.
  • Actions taken during the stop, including, but not limited to: whether the officer asked for consent to search the person; whether consent was provided; whether the officer searched the person or any property, and, if so, the basis for the search and the type of contraband or evidence discovered, if any; whether the officer seized any property and, if so, the type of property that was seized and the basis for seizing it.
  • The result of the stop, such as: no action, warning, citation, property seizure or arrest.
  • If a warning or citation was issued, the warning provided or violation cited.
  • If an arrest was made, the offense charged.

The gathered information will be made public, but will not identify the citizen or the officer in the arrest or stop. Although the law was recently designed, larger police departments do not have to begin these reports until 2019. Smaller departments will begin in 2023. In addition to these guidelines, every department will be mandated to file an annual report of each complaint received by citizens, including those that involve issues concerning racial profiling.

According to Colorlines in a report by the Los Angeles Times, the California Fraternal Order of Police and Peace Officers Association asked Brown to cancel the bill due to cost.

“There is no racial profiling. There just isn’t. There is criminal profiling that exists,” said Lieutenant Steve James, president of Long Beach Police Officers Association and national trustee for California Fraternal Order of Police.

Despite these assertions, data shows the arrest of Black and Latino citizens are two and three times higher than those of White people.

Melina Abdullah, professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State L.A. and an activist affiliated with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, supported the legislation in a statement via the Los Angeles Times:

“This will provide additional data. If I were law enforcement, I’d think of it as an opportunity to demonstrate that I wasn’t racially profiling, that we have a fair and equitable system. The resistance to it signals to me and many others that there is a lot of racial profiling going on.”

In addition to the law, the Racial Profiling Advisory Board will require officers to participate in training to address racial profiling, sensitivity, and diversity in police departments.

SOURCES: Colorlines, Los Angeles Times | VIDEO SOURCE: Inform


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