Statement in support of California AB-931:
Criminal procedure - use of force by peace officers
I write this statement in support of California AB-931 because, for all of the talk of loyalty to and reverence for the blue line, all of the histrionics over the sanctity of the shield, I don't see any compelling evidence that those who have hijacked the argument with their vehement protestations actually believe that #BlueLivesMatter.
So I am compelled to write in passionate advocacy for those Blue lives. Lives like
Officers who were murdered in an ambush killing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016. Murdered by a man whose stated purpose was to "create substantial change within America's police force and judicial system."
Good officers. Good men. Doing their jobs day after day, the right way. Do their lives matter?
I write out of the shock and pain caused by the loss of
Murdered in an ambush 4 months ago in Trenton, Florida. The shooter gave no reasons, but the actions of the "bad apples" in the force are making policing more dangerous every day. Taylor was only 25. Noel had a wife and children. Do any of their lives matter?
I write for
Assassinated in her marked squad car last summer.
The attempted ambush of a group of LAPD officers last December that wounded an officer in training.
Wen Jian Liu
Murdered in their marked squad car in New York in 2014. Their murderer claimed he was retaliating for the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
And that devastating loss of life that finally brought this entire point home to me
Patricio "Patrick" Zamarripa
Murdered en masse in Dallas in 2016.
Clearly those of us who are advocating for AB-931 are concerned about civilian lives. But we're concerned about Blue lives as well. By stonewalling common sense rules and regulations for use of force, you place good officer's lives in increasing danger.
So I guess the question for the Blue Lives Matter crowd is - which Blue lives? You've fought tooth and nail to protect the would-be criminals amongst you. But what about the good guys? Don't their lives matter too?
AB-931 is reasonable, common sense legislation that could help restore faith in our policing and legal systems. By clarifying and codifying that "shoot first" is not legitimate police procedure, we allow the legal system to perform its most fundamental duty - to dispense justice. We allow police and sheriff's organizations to clearly delineate between necessary and unnecessary, reasonable and excessive, use of force. Which will go a long way in beginning the process of restoring their credibility in the communities they serve.
I'm tired of being afraid of the police. And I know officers are tired of being afraid of citizens. The only way this stops is by moving away from the extremes and recognizing that all citizens - specifically all black and brown citizens - are not out to kill police officers. Just like all officers are not out to kill citizens - black, brown or otherwise. And by passing reasonable legislation, like AB-931, that ensures that those officers who would betray the trust of their communities and fellow officers by using unnecessary and excessive force face justice in the same way citizens do.