Restoring trust between the police and the public.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta is one of the people behind Assembly Bill 1506, a new law that requires the state to investigate deadly police encounters involving an unarmed civilian.
“I’ve been in touch with so many families that are in a club that nobody wants to belong to,” said Rick Perez.
That’s why for seven years, Perez has been fighting for change.
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His son Pedie Perez killed by a Richmond police officer in September 2014.
“He was on one he was pretty toasted,” he said.
Rick Perez told NBC Bay Area that Peddie was never violent.
Police came to the liquor store on Cutting Boulevard. Pedie Perez was detained for intoxication and unarmed. Words were exchanged.
The officer claims the 24-year-old reached for his weapon. According to Perez, witnesses deny that claim.
Police shot and killed Peddie. The city cleared the officer and so did a criminal probe by Contra Costa County’s District Attorney’s Office.
The Perez family settled out of court.
“These police investigate themselves all the time and they assure us they did nothing wrong. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s what they learn at the academy is how to cover themselves,” Rick Perez said.
Bonta wanted to make sure more families didn’t feel like the Perez’s do. Bonta coauthored, AB 1506, a bill that requires the state to investigate deadly police shootings of unarmed people.
“This is personal for me. I’ve heard firsthand the hurt and pain so many families and communities feel moments after these incidents,” Bonta said.
Offices will be opening up in Northern and Southern California. Bonta expects to investigate 40 to 50 deadly police shootings each year.
Civil rights attorney John Burris said this new law is a step in the right direction.
“The local DA investigating local shootings by local police officers to me has an inherent bias because they are almost always using the police as a bases to support their criminal prosecutions,” Burris said.
Perez told NBC Bay Area that AB 1506 makes him hopeful.
“Nothing in the world will bring him [Pedie] back but it will help other families down the road,” he said.