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California Senate OKs Police Accountability Bill



Police agencies in California would be required to submit annual reports aimed at reducing racial profiling under a bill approved Wednesday by the state Senate. It passed 26 to 13 on a mostly party line vote with Democrats in favor.

The measure, AB 953 by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, would require police officers to record the perceived race, age and gender of each person they stop. Police agencies would then be required to submit annual reports using that data to a new state board on racial profiling.

Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, said recent national cases of racial profiling and abuse show the need for more police accountability.

“The time has come to have a clear conversation with law enforcement about what we as a society will no longer accept. And that’s racial profiling," Mitchell said on the Senate floor.

Several Republicans, including Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Temecula, called the bill’s reporting requirements costly and burdensome.

A recent analysis by the Senate Rules Committee put the measure's annual cost at more than $7 million after significant one-time start up costs.

“It’s going to be very costly for police departments and sheriff’s departments to implement this because an officer is going to be spending an abundant amount of his time doing paperwork rather than being on the streets.” 

Weber's bill is one of the few police accountability bills remaining in the Legislature. More than a dozen such measures were introduced earlier this year but many have stalled following law enforcement opposition.

Last week, protesters marched through the streets near the Capitol and packed the halls outside the office of Gov. Jerry Brown, demanding his support for AB 953.

To become law, the bill would need final approval in the Assembly later this week and Brown's signature by mid-October. 

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