CALIFORNIA, USA — Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law decriminalizing jaywalking in California. It comes after many called for change following a Sacramento case.
A caught-on-camera incident from back in April 2017 showed a man being beaten by a Sacramento police officer during a jaywalking stop in South Sacramento. The video sparked outrage.
The man ended up settling a lawsuit with the city for $550,000 and several reforms in the Sacramento Police Department, including mandatory implicit bias training for officers and cultural immersion training for all recruits in the academy.
"That's... the kind of work we get to do. We can bring about change, and we can cause a department to change the process and the manner in which they do business," said civil rights attorney John Burris.
After the governor signed the bill, Californians will soon be able to jaywalk in without getting a ticket from police, as long as it is safe to do so.
"Decriminalizing it is a very positive step. It should be done because people walk all the time," Burris said.
Assemblymember Phil Ting wrote the bill. He said police disproportionately ticket low-income and people of color for jaywalking.
"This enforcement happens in selective communities, selective neighborhoods, and often, neighborhoods where there's less pedestrian infrastructure, less crosswalks, and less street lights and this is really not very equitable," Ting said.
The new law says police can only stop and cite a pedestrian for jaywalking if there's immediate danger of a collision.