Crime & Justice

California bill ends grand jury hearings for police killings

In this file photo, a man kneels in the street before a line of police officers about to charge at protesters reacting to the grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who had shot dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, in the early morning hours of November 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Legislation advanced in the California Assembly on Thursday, July 16, 2015, is among several bills introduced in response to nationwide protests over police slayings of unarmed black men.
In this file photo, a man kneels in the street before a line of police officers about to charge at protesters reacting to the grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who had shot dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, in the early morning hours of November 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Legislation advanced in the California Assembly on Thursday, July 16, 2015, is among several bills introduced in response to nationwide protests over police slayings of unarmed black men.
David McNew/Getty Images

The California Assembly has narrowly advanced legislation to end the use of secret grand jury proceedings to investigate police shootings.

SB227 passed Thursday on a 41-to-33 vote, the minimum needed. It now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration.

The legislation by Democratic Sen. Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles is among several bills introduced in response to nationwide protests over police slayings of unarmed black men.

Grand juries did not bring criminal charges against officers who killed men in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island.

Mitchell says the secret proceedings are unfair and not transparent.

The California District Attorneys Association says grand juries are more transparent and fair in California than in other states.

There was no debate on the bill, but Republicans were opposed and several Democrats withheld votes.