SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There’s a new statewide push demanding more transparency and accountability from law enforcement.
The watchdog group Justice Teams Network launched on Wednesday. The network includes groups like Black Lives Matter Sacramento and LA and the Anti-Police And Terror Project.
One of the network’s goals is to provide civilian investigations after officer-involved shootings.
“In 2017, 1,129 people were killed by police and officers were only charged in 13 of those instances,” said James Burch, policy coordinator for the Anti-Police and Terror Project.
Burch says the statistic is one of the driving forces behind the launch of Justice Teams Network.
“The first thing we need is transparency and accountability from those who have been sworn to protect and serve,” Burch said.
The network is an extension of grassroots organizations across the state, committed to bringing equality to black families whose loved ones have been shot and killed by police.
Burch says Stephon Clark’s shooting death is one of many examples highlighting the need for more resources to help affected families cope and grieve.
“It’s a very lonely and a very scary situation to be in,” Burch added.
The network is now pushing for civilian investigations, saying often times, victim families are left in the dark.
“There are no sides, we are on the same side this is not anyone against anyone else,” said Novato Police Chief Adam McGill.
The California Police Chiefs’ Association says it wants to work with the network, but says there are policies barring law enforcement from releasing certain information after an officer-involved shooting.
“We all have a shared interest, we all wanna get to the truth of what happens in incidents that involve tragedies in communities,” McGill added.
For now, Burch says the network’s focus is to support victim’s families while pushing to become a watchdog for law enforcement across the state.
The network is also sponsoring two bills moving through the Capitol, which could change the current law around use of force, and what law enforcement can release to the public.