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California lawmakers propose “George Floyd” bill to punish bystander cops

The bill would allow for stricter penalties against officers who don't intervene when their colleagues use excessive force.

George Floyd mural Getty Images

California lawmakers have proposed a bill that would give stricter penalties to police officers who fail to intervene when their colleagues are using excessive force.

“We were outraged when we watched the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer from a knee to the neck,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “Equally disturbing, was the lack of intervention from the police officers who witnessed a clear use of excessive force.”

If the bill is passed, officers who fail to intervene when they see a fellow cop using excessive force could receive the same punishment as the officer who was involved in the crime. They will face either criminal charges or be banned from law enforcement altogether.

“From Rodney King in 1991 to Stephon Clark in 2018, California has a bad a history with excessive use of force by police officers,” Holden continued. “With protection from the law, this legislation empowers police officers to do right thing.”

The law will also forbid any retaliation against officers who report any violations. A website will be established so that the public can report violations and search an officer’s records by using his/her name.

Earlier this month, lawmakers in San Francisco proposed the Caren Act (Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies), which would fine individuals who call 911 over racial, gender or religious prejudices.

The Caren Act was in direct response to dozens of viral videos where white women called the police on minorities for doing things such as barbecuing or delivering food.

“In these times of continued systemic and systematic oppression of Black people, we have to be innovative and strong with our solutions,” Shamann Walton said in a statement. “It is also our collective responsibility as the Board of Supervisors to prevent racial discrimination in all its forms and seek justice for people when we are unable to stop discrimination from happening.”

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