New California Law Seeks to Limit When Officers Can Shoot

Law enforcement is a tough job; working long shifts, getting berated by the public and supervision, being at work more than at home, trying to avoid blood-borne diseases, working a third shift followed by going to court in the morning. The list goes on and on. New officers know some cons of police work, but it takes experience and veterans explaining to understand fully. Now, lawmakers in California are attempting to make police officers’ jobs even more difficult by trying to pass a law that would make it illegal for officers to shoot a suspect with an “imitation weapon.”

The move comes after police fatally shot a man in California, last month. Sacramento police received a call about a suspect who was breaking into vehicles at approximately 4:25 a.m. on March 18th. A police helicopter was able to locate the man and direct officers to his location. When officers confronted the individual, he fled to his grandparent’s backyard, where he was not staying. Officers gave loud verbal commands for the suspect to show his hands. He did not, then pulled out an object, pointed it at them and charged while yelling obscenities. There was no way of knowing the item was a cell phone. The suspect presented it as a firearm. As a result, officers shot and killed him. There was very little light at the scene except for a small motion light and the officers’ flashlights, and the suspect was standing in a shadowed area before charging.

Now, there were a lot of shots fired after the suspect went down. I am not questioning what the officers saw, but it does look bad. However, whatever else the officers saw was distorted in the video, keeping them from being charged.

Now, California lawmakers are proposing a law that would change the standard for the use of deadly force from “reasonable” to “necessary.” The danger to police officers will rise, but it is also a problem for society, specifically law-abiding citizens.

Officers have to make split-second decisions. They act on what they know at the time and what they observe. Traffic stops are frequent at night. There is low visibility inside the car. The spotlight is useful, but it still doesn’t light up the entire passenger compartment. It’s already nerve-racking enough when the people inside the vehicle comply. If someone inside begins to dig around, or hide their hands in places where guns commonly are, tensions escalate. Whose fault is that? The officer stopping the car for a simple traffic violation, or possibly a more significant crime, or the non-compliant subject who is acting nervous and hiding their hands? Perhaps the passenger is planning suicide by police. There are dozens of situations the police face daily that go sideways, and law enforcement has to react in a split second. There is no time to think, just react.

If this passes, California will continue on a decline and society will worsen. Good men and women looking for a career in law enforcement will likely not apply to California agencies anymore. They will look out of state. There will be a depleted candidate selection pool. Current officers will see it as not worth their freedom to go to work worrying about being criminally charged for reacting to someone who makes a decision to become a perceived lethal threat. They may quit, or retire if they have enough time in the system. Who can blame them?

So now there are fewer officers and the ones who are working are questionable. Where does society go from there? Californians better hold on tight.

These politicians have never spent a day in a patrol car, let alone chasing a subject who stops and turns to fight. They have never been in an all-out brawl, one-on-one with a suspect who is high on a stimulant drug that gives them superhuman strength, who knocks off their radio microphone so they can’t give their location and is trying to take their firearm. The politicians have never had the adrenaline dump that makes them shake uncontrollably and possibly vomit when the fight is over. And that is just a small example of what officers go through daily in the country.

Now, they want to make a law to restrict an officer’s ability to protect themselves and the public. These men and women are dads, mom, sons, daughters, cousins, and children. Law enforcement numbers will drop in California, while crime skyrockets. Watch it happen.

I am not saying every decision made by officers is perfect. They are human and certainly make mistakes.

In 2011, police made 62.9 million contacts with citizens. The Washington Post reports there are approximately 1,000 people killed annually by the police. Do the math; that is 0.00159% of the time.

If this law passes, California will go further down the toilet. You can blame the leftist lawmakers for that.