Civil Rights Groups Decry Changes To Police Shooting Review Bill

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Civil rights groups returned to the state Capitol Tuesday, with the brother of Joseph Mann, the mentally ill Sacramento man killed by police one year ago today.

“We need both sides to come together so that we can get to the bottom of this,” said Robert Mann.

But Robert Mann says that push for police reform just took a major step backward, after changes to a bill that would’ve allowed for an independent review of officer-involved shootings.

“Right now the current process as it’s stands is like a student grading his own paper,” said Rev. Shane Harris of the National Action Network.

Under their initial bill passed in the Assembly, local police and district attorneys would be able to ask the state attorney general’s office to investigate police shootings.

Currently, the bill asks the Department of Justice to conduct a study of hundreds of fatal officer-involved shootings – or just a sample of them – between January 2015, and December 2016.

“I believe we’re trying to come up with a solution that will give us a path forward into the future to stop these from occurring, not simply react to them when they do occur,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

Attorney General Becerra says it’s a compromise, for advocates pushing for accountability, and police unions claiming a new investigations unit duplicates existing oversight.

“The DOJ when they want to come In… they can do their own…” said Shaun Rundle of the California Peace Officers Association.

Yet in many cases- including the Mann shooting- local prosecutors decline to charge the officers. And advocates say the latest, revised police reform bill before the Senate, is yet another example of law enforcement working too closely with the powers that be.

“When you see all the police shootings, and you see no one being convicted doesn’t that say enough?” said Robert Mann.

More from Lemor Abrams
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