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EXCESSIVE FORCE – REPORT STANDARDS

WHEREAS, there is no federal oversight regarding use of force in arrests and no national database exists at the citizen level on the use of excessive force and national reporting by local or statewide law enforcement agencies is voluntary with no set of standards or definition of types of force by which to compare apples to apples or standard definition of “punishable excessive force,” for example as an outlier, in the Jared Pusok, horseback bandit suspect, taser and handcuffs, followed by taser, hits/kicks, officer using body weight, hit/kicks to the head using batons and taser to punch are types of force used which were defended by San Bernardino County; AND

WHEREAS, California based law enforcement agencies are currently fairly free to describe force in their own best interests, and to collect or not collect data as they please and to categorize “use of force” in as many ways as possible in a convoluted system of “descriptions of force” with sub-categories of lethal force, physical force, passive-aggressive force, allowable force (which may include handcuffs), non-permitted use of force (which may include over tightening of handcuffs) and force by officers on and off duty, number of officers involved and by police division or subdivision, how many times a person is tazed or how many bullets were fired, then also broken down into categories of both the officer and the citizen by gender, race and age and mental illness and whether or not they have tattoos; AND

WHEREAS, while individuals and groups may benefit from reliable data points, the more categories to spread the various types of force and excessive force, the more difficult it is to collect and spot patterns of abuse by excess of force; AND without a trigger point for when an officer will be prosecuted, sanctioned or sued, the legal question becomes “did the incident create  enough national outrage?”

THEREFORE, the California Democratic Party resolves to support a statewide mandate for detailed uniform reporting by police, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors on specific types of force employed by law officers and specific trigger points at which force would be considered excessive and punishable; AND

FURTHER let it be resolved that the California Democratic Party shall forward this resolution to the State of California Commission on Peace Officer and Standards Training, Governor Brown, Democratic state constitutional members and Democratic members of the California Legislature.

Authors: Dean Perry (AD33) and Ruth Musser-Lopez (AD33)

Endorsed by vote of members present with two abstentions 4-25-2017