Capitol Alert

California ‘boys and men of color’ committee to focus on police, schools

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, speaks alongside members of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Sacramento.
Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, speaks alongside members of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Sacramento. jwhite@sacbee.com

Touting the enlarged size of a committee devoted to California’s minority males, lawmakers on Tuesday stressed priorities that include nondiscriminatory policing and sending more money to schools with high minority populations.

While the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color had existed, it has grown this session to include an additional 11 lawmakers, known as “alliance members,” who are not formally on the committee but are invited to hearings, staff briefings and events like Tuesday’s news conference. Legislators said their inclusion reflected enormous interest in the committee’s work.

“This is unprecedented and marks the strength of this growing movement and just how high a priority improving outcomes for boys and men of color is for the California Legislature,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda.

The conference offered few specifics. Members said they were still hammering out a unified position on certain policies, including the question of whether police officers should be able to view body camera footage before writing reports. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-Los Angeles, mentioned police training and gang intervention funding as ways to help “do policing in a different way.”

“We need to look at how we train our law enforcement and how we can better train them so they can deal with peoples’ mental challenges, but most importantly not look at our young boys and men of color as criminals but look at their potential,” he said.

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