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California Has A New Police Use-Of-Force Law. What Changed?

A Bakersfield police vehicle makes patrols
A Bakersfield police vehicle makes patrols

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Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 392 into law — a bill often described as one of the strictest use-of-force laws in the nation.

Under the new standards, police officers are required to use deadly force only when “necessary” as opposed to “reasonable.” 

The version signed into law Monday comes after months of negotiations between law enforcement and lawmakers, and changes to the bill itself. The original version of the bill was amended back in May and removed language that worried police officers. That revision also caused some advocates of the original bill to withdraw their support. 

The legislation, which first emerged after the death of Stephon Clark, is slated to go into effect January 1st. 

For more on the impact of the new law, we turn to a supporter and a critic of the updated rules.


Peter Bibring, director of police practices at ACLU of Southern California; he tweets @PeterBibring

Robert Harris, director for the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the labor union representing LAPD officers, and an LAPD officer; he tweets @RobHarrisLAPPL