Governor Authorizes Reform of Abusive Police Department Practices

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill giving courts greater authority to issue injunctions against police departments which have a history of civil rights violations.

AB 2634, by Assembly Member Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), allows a victim of a civil rights violation at the hands of a police officer to seek injunctive relief to eliminate the offending pattern or practice from the department.

“The number of disturbing cases we have seen around the country of officers abusing departmentally approved tactics like pepper spray, chokeholds, or other force, makes me cringe,” Bradford said. “Placing an asthmatic man in a chokehold in Staten Island, or punching a mentally ill woman in the face on a Southern California freeway—these are approved uses of force that desperately need review by an independent court.”

This bill provides an individual the legal right to ask the court to order law enforcement to discontinue the acts that resulted in the violation of rights, if the acts are determined to be part of a pattern or practice. The injunction would then apply across a department, to all individuals, regardless if they were parties in the initial case.

“By giving the courts the authority to review departmental practices, we can implement a check on dangerous and unconstitutional behavior,” Bradford continued. “I admire our police officers and the work they do keeping our communities safe. But residents should not fear their officers, and victims of excessive force should have an avenue they can take to prevent more people from becoming victims.”

The California Attorneys for Criminal Justice co-sponsored AB 2634.

Assembly Member Steven Bradford represents the 62nd Assembly District, comprised of the cities of Hawthorne, Lawndale, Inglewood, and El Segundo, and the communities of North Gardena, Westchester, Venice, and Del Rey, and parts of Westmont and Park Mesa Heights, and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

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