California lawmakers have passed a proposal to have the state attorney general or another state prosecutor look into fatal shootings by peace officers.
AB 1506, authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), passed with bipartisan support. Similar measures by McCarty have been squashed twice before, in part because state attorneys general, including Xavier Becerra and Kamala Harris, have opposed having their office oversee police shootings, arguing they lacked the fiscal resources and already had the ability to step in if local investigations were inadequate, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The version of the law that was sent to the governor leaves the door open for creating an entirely new state-level office to investigate police shootings, rather than the attorney general’s office, which could provide a workaround if the Department of Justice remains reluctant to take on the job. The bill also does not go into effect unless the Legislature approves funding for associated costs.
“Let’s face it, the attorney general hasn’t really expressed an interest in doing this, which is really unfortunate,” McCarty said. “So there are other models out there.”
McCarty was also able to secure passage of Assembly Bill 1185, which clarifies how county boards of supervisors can create oversight commissions for sheriffs. The bill also gives subpoena power to those boards.