California Assembly OKs Bill to Deter Shootings by Police

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California’s state Assembly has passed legislation intended to deter shootings by police by tightening when officers can legally open fire.

Lawmakers approved the bill Wednesday, 66-2, after changes last week ended what had been vehement opposition from law enforcement.

The bill would allow police to use deadly force only when it is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious injury to officers or bystanders. It was sparked by public outrage over fatal shootings by police, including the killing of unarmed vandalism suspect Stephon Clark in Sacramento.

Law enforcement leaders say the revised language would mostly leave existing court rulings in place. But they say the updated standard, combined with more required training for officers, would do more than any other state to deter shootings.