California Constitutional Amendment Initiative 17-022
WHEREAS, California law enforcement agencies employ peace officers, which derive their authority from the California Penal Code (the "CPC") to enforce various state and local criminal and civil laws;
WHEREAS, the State of California is home to over 1,000 law enforcement agencies including local police departments, sheriff's departments, and the California Highway Patrol, which employ peace officers in each agency ("Law Enforcement Officers");
WHEREAS, we the people, through our Constitution and state and local laws, have granted Law Enforcement Officers the right to use lethal and near-lethal force to defend the Constitution and to enforce laws protecting the welfare, safety, and health of the public;
WHEREAS, Law Enforcement Officers are required to undergo highly specialized training which includes, amongst other topics, situational and/or hands-on use of force training.
WHEREAS, an essential duty for Law Enforcement Officers is to keep the peace in accordance with their highly specialized training;
WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court has ruled that deadly forced may not be used, unless an individual poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily harm to one’s self or others;
WHEREAS, the standard of reasonableness required of Law Enforcement Officers in criminal prosecutions involving lethal or near-lethal use of force in defense of self or others has not been altered from that of an ordinary citizen by law or legal precedent;
WHEREAS, the standard of reasonableness required of Law Enforcement Officers in criminal prosecutions involving lethal or near-lethal use of force in defense of self or others should necessarily be higher than that which is required for an ordinary citizen to prevail on a theory of self-defense;
WHEREAS, law enforcement officers are servants of the citizenry and cases involving excessive, unwarranted, or improper use of force are of critical importance to the public at large and the members of the affected communities in particular;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that:
1. Notwithstanding any previous statutory and/or case law to the contrary, in criminal prosecutions involving the use of lethal or near-lethal force, law enforcement officers shall be held to a reasonable person standard that is - both in theory and in practice - equal to or higher than that required for an ordinary citizen to prevail on a self-defense claim.
2. Any criminal prosecution of a law enforcement officer for a crime related to abuse of power or authority, unlawful or excessive use of force under color of law, or a violent felony whether or not under color of law, shall not be heard in a bench trial but must be heard before a jury.
*You must be a registered California voter to sign the petition.