California Gov. Gavin Newsom late Monday signed into law Assembly Bill 127, which aims to increase accountability for police officers involved in misconduct or unlawful shootings.
The bill was authored by Sen. Sydney Kamlager, D-Los Angeles, and co-sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Under the bill, prosecutors seeking an arrest warrant for an officer can now go directly to a judge to secure the warrant.
Prior to the law, prosecutors faced several bureaucratic hurdles to secure a warrant for an officer involved in alleged misconduct or unlawful shootings, including, oftentimes, unwillingness from other officers who refuse to help in the prosecution of one of their colleagues.
"We can't let a 'snitches get stitches' policy strong-arm our criminal legal system. AB 127 fights against this practice and will dramatically help in holding police officers accountable in California," Kamlager said in a statement. "By signing AB 127 into law, we're showing that procedural barriers or an officer's unwillingness to speak out do not override the due process a victim of police violence or misconduct is entitled to."
"I am thrilled that Governor Newsom has signed AB 127 into law to ensure that California is eliminating obstacles to police accountability," Boudin said. "The murder of George Floyd and so many others around the state of California and the nation has reminded us of the need to promote justice for victims of police violence and police misconduct. AB 127 remedies the problem that exists when law enforcement officers refuse to assist in the prosecution of a fellow officer -- which can leave prosecutors unable to pursue charges against police who break the law."
Since Boudin took office last year, he's become the first San Francisco district attorney to charge officers accused of misconduct.
So far, five separate officers have faced charges in connection with four separate cases.