In response to nationwide protests following the Minneapolis killing of George Floyd, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two new policing laws aimed at improving police practices in California.
Starting Jan. 1, California will have its first statewide policy banning police from using a couple of neck restraints: carotid restraints, which temporarily cut off blood flow to the brain, and chokeholds, which temporarily cut off a person’s air.
Some cities, like San Francisco and San Diego, have already banned these neck restraints. But this is the first time there’s a state law. Significantly, it faced no opposition from police.
Also starting Jan. 1, the state attorney general will investigate incidents in which police kill anyone who is unarmed.
In the past, these have been handled by local law enforcement agencies — raising questions about police investigating their colleagues.
Supporters see it as a significant step to build trust by making investigations more independent, though the final version was neither a high priority for activists nor a target of police opposition.
While the state responded to political pressure with some new policing laws, many bills failed to make it out of the Legislature.
But they may make a comeback. Expect to see bills about making more police records available to the public and law about stripping cops of their badges when they commit serious misconduct to reappear in the 2021 legislative session.
Fewer laws than usual will take effect in 2021, given that the coronavirus pandemic shortened and dominated the Legislature’s 2020 session. Here’s a playlist of nine of the most notable new California laws, each explained in a minute.