✅ Protecting protesters from rubber bullets

Police officers used rubber bullets to keep protesters back during a protest following the killing of George Floyd in downtown San Jose on May 29, 2020. Photo by Randy Vazquez, Bay Area News Group
Police officers used rubber bullets to keep protesters back during a protest following the killing of George Floyd in downtown San Jose on May 29, 2020. Photo by Randy Vazquez, Bay Area News Group

By Robert Lewis

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

AB 48 would limit police use of rubber bullets and other less lethal weapons at protests and demonstrations to certain situations, such as when someone’s life is in danger or to bring a dangerous situation under control after other means don’t work. Departments would also need to release reports on their use of such weapons. Its authors include Democratic Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez, Cristina Garcia and Ash Kalra.

WHO SUPPORTS IT

The California Faculty Association, news groups, labor organizations and student associations like the University of California Student Association are among those touting the bill as a way to protect people exercising their constitutional right to assemble and protest.

WHO’S OPPOSED

The California State Sheriffs’ Association and some local law enforcement groups contend the bill would take away discretion from officers who should have the right to use less lethal weapons as they deem necessary.

WHY IT MATTERS

Police in California have resorted to using rubber bullets and tear gas against demonstrators and journalists — most recently during last summer’s protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In some cases, people were seriously injured, leading to lawsuits contending the officers used such weapons inappropriately.

GOVERNOR’S CALL: