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Sacramento city leaders announce use-of-force policy changes

The announcement is an update to the policy’s language, which hasn’t been changed since 2016.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento city officials announced proposed changes to the police department's use-of-force policy on Thursday, June 25.

The virtual announcement came come from council member Larry Carr and Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby.

The three policy changes include banning of chokeholds, prohibiting the use of no-knock raid warrants, and ongoing professional development training for our officers, officials said. Thursday’s announcement will update the policy’s language, which hasn’t been changed since 2016. It will reflect current community concerns and will align with the language in current state policy.

It also gives officers specific guidelines for the type of force and tools authorized for a given level of resistance. Officials said the policy will also ensure officers are issued and carry less-lethal weapons and body-worn cameras. It will also require officers don’t move in front of or shoot at moving vehicles unless a suspect poses a threat with a weapon other than the vehicle.

Police will also be required to intervene when an officer observes another officer using force that is beyond objectively reasonable. The police department will also have to release all video directly associated with a deadly force incident or in-custody death 30 days after it happens, unless the City Manager seeks a waiver from the Council.

The discussion began years ago and has gotten more attention in recent weeks after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Both Council Member Carr and Mayor Pro Tem Ashby have pushed for use-of-force policy reform in recent years. Most changes came after the police killing of Stephon Clark, Including rolling out body cameras, tightening up the video release policies, introducing a new foot pursuit policy, and doubling down on community outreach efforts.

Sacramento Community Activist Berry Accius said the new policy is missing accountability. Accius said council members must make public and clear to the community the step by step discipline process an officer will undergo if they are found not following policy guidelines

“We want real consequences, we want to know if a police officer violates this new policy they will be suspended or if it deserves firing, they will be fired,” Accius said.

Ashby says that police officers will be trained during their time in the police academy in the proper use of force including using bean bags to incapacitate a suspect and drones in place of chasing someone on foot. If an officer fails to follow the policy Ashby says the proper disciplinary actions will be taken.

“They would be out of compliance and they would face the penalties like any other out of compliance decision they would make while on the force, “Ashby said.

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