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Sacramento police killed Stephon Clark 3 years ago. California must pass these reforms


Today marks three years since Sacramento police officers killed Stephon Clark in his grandparents’ backyard. Clark was 22-years-old when two officers shot him eight times on the evening of Mar. 18, 2018.

Two years ago, the Sacramento community responded by mobilizing in support of the California Act to Save Lives, also known as “Stephon Clark’s Law.” The public pressure forced lawmakers to pass critical legislation that updated an outdated use-of-force standard established in 1872.

The final version of Assembly Bill 392 — authored by then-Assemblywoman Shirley Weber — wasn’t perfect. It did, however, create some of the toughest police standards in the nation for using deadly force. The movement to pass AB 392 against fierce opposition also proved that it’s possible to defeat the powerful law enforcement lobby in the California State Capitol.

This year, California must go further. In 2020, California Democrats failed to pass several major police reforms — even after many legislators marched with activists and took a knee while pledging to take action during protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.

Performative solidarity with Black Lives Matter marchers was easy. When it came time to pass important reforms, however, too many legislative leaders failed to show up for Black lives.

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