Capitol Alert

Assembly sends Jerry Brown bill on racial profiling

California Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve White, right, stands outside the office of Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 2 as protesters shouting “black lives matter” block the hallway demanding passage of AB 953.
California Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve White, right, stands outside the office of Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 2 as protesters shouting “black lives matter” block the hallway demanding passage of AB 953. The Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown will decide the fate of a police profiling bill that led advocates to blockade his office and stage a mass “die-in” last week.

Introduced after a year in which the “Black Lives Matter” movement flourished in response to high-profile police killings, Assembly Bill 953 would require law enforcement to submit to the California attorney general detailed information on police stops. Backers say it would quantify a problem for which they believe there is abundant anecdotal evidence – that law enforcement unfairly targets minorities.

“I think all of us have come to the realization that we’re at a critical point in terms of policing and racial profiling in the state,” said Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego. “(The bill) provides us with information where there may be problems that exist and it gives us a way of moving from just hearsay and what people think happened.”

Assembly members sent the measure to Brown on 42-24 vote, overriding the opposition of law enforcement groups who argued the bill would distract officers with unnecessary paperwork.

The passage marked a victory for advocates who staged a raucous demonstration at the Capitol last week. They massed in front of Brown’s office and prevented anyone from passing while they sang, chanted and shared stories of police violence.

In a statement at the time, Brown’s office declined to weigh in on the bill but said that “we welcome the voices of Californians on these and other important issues.”

Protesters gathered outside Gov. Jerry Brown's office Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, demanding he sign a bill increasing oversight of racial profiling. (Video by Alexei Koseff)

Assembly Bill 953, which would require law enforcement to gather information and report data on stops to sues out profiling, sparks rally at the state Capitol. (Video by Christopher Cadelago)

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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