After Californians took to the streets of cities across the state to protest police brutality and racism last summer, elected leaders pledged to implement reforms.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has pledged to shift $ 250 million from city services – including a $ 150 million cut from policing – to communities of color. San Francisco Mayor London Breed in June unveiled a four point plan to tackle racism and how the city’s police department is tackling mental health and homelessness.
But progress on those goals has been mixed in the months since, not just in California, but across the country. And different jurisdictions have taken different approaches.
Amid widespread calls for police removal, for example, school leaders in some cities have decided to reduce the presence of armed police in the hallways. This month, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to downsize its police force and instead invest millions of dollars it would have spent on armed security in programs for students of color and other measures. , after student activists pushed for the defounding of the department.
[Read about how schools are one of the few places where major changes have taken place in response to last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.]
But in Berkeley, known for its progressive policies, city officials this week made what they described as significant changes that they hope will make the city a role model in addressing racial disparities in the city. police – without explicitly focusing on reducing the police department budget.
“I think using the word ‘defund’ is wrong,” Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín told me Tuesday. “What we are focusing on is transforming our approach to public safety and that is part of the larger effort to determine what the role of police is in our community and how can they be deployed.” the best?”
In July, as my colleague Kellen Browning reported, Berkeley became what was believed to be the first city in the country to consider banning police officers from carrying out road checks and shifting that responsibility to unarmed members. of a transport department.
[Read more about why proponents believe removing the police from traffic stops could prevent encounters with Black civilians that turn violent — or deadly.]
On Tuesday evening, the Berkeley City Council unanimously approved a package of reforms that city officials – including Chief Andrew Greenwood of the Berkeley Police Department, who spoke at the special meeting – have said this was possible in the short term, while figuring out how to make larger changes.
The reforms are forcing city officials to implement a ban on stopping drivers for non-safety related offenses, like broken tail lights or even passing a stop sign if they don’t. nobody around, and would prevent the police from asking questions about the status of parole and probation. in most of the cases.
The reforms also include the requirement for written consent for searches in cases where consent is required and the incorporation of increased transparency measures into police interactions with members of the public.
[Find the recommendations in more detail here.]
Experts have long said that road stops, the most common interaction Americans have with police, disproportionately affect black drivers. And police officers often have wide discretion to stop people in “pretext stops,” which means they can stop a driver for a minor offense so they can ask further questions.
A report from the Center for Policing Equity found that blacks are 6.5 times more likely than whites to be stopped by the Berkeley Police Department while driving and 4.5 times more likely to be stopped on foot.
Mr Arreguín said asking officers to spend less time arresting people for violations that do not affect broader public safety and more time investigating more serious crimes would build confidence and render service more efficient.
Now the city’s elected leaders must hold those responsible for implementing the changes, said Nathan Mizell, a UC Berkeley student who served on the city’s police review board and the group. work of the mayor who drew up the recommendations approved on Tuesday.
“I think this is really a milestone,” Mr. Mizell said. “He’s the long overdue one.”
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Here’s what else to know today
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is President Biden’s choice for Health Secretary, was faced with difficult questions on Tuesday during the first of two confirmation hearings. But with Vice President Kamala Harris available to break a tie, Mr Becerra appears to be heading for the job. [The New York Times]
Senators are overloaded with hearing hours as they attempt to work on Cabinet confirmations. [The New York Times]
Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed a massive $ 7.6 billion relief package that will send payments of $ 600 to millions of low-income, undocumented Californians. [CapRadio]
Tiger Woods was rushed to hospital with serious leg injuries after being involved in a car crash on a stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard near Rancho Palos Verdes, known for its accidents. Here is what we know about the accident. [The New York Times]
Two studies have confirmed that the california coronavirus variant is more contagious, but the extent of the threat is still unclear. [The New York Times]
Track the variants and mutations of the coronavirus. [The New York Times]
The states highly regarded Covid-19 test laboratory in Valencia managed by PerkinElmer rebuffed against a finding in a recent state inspection that it had “significant deficiencies,” saying the problems had been corrected. [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]
Los Angeles Unified School District is set to restart some on campus services next week, with a wider reopening scheduled for April 9. [LAist]
Amid the considerable frustration that the effort has taken so much oxygen while students are still not in the classrooms, the head of the San Francisco Board of Education said the massive name change of schools will be put on hold. [The New York Times]
Washington Republicans are taking over closed schools as a political rallying cry. [The New York Times]
The family of a 30-year-old naval veteran, Angelo Quinto, plans to file a complaint against the Antioch Police Department after a policeman knelt on his neck while suffering from a mental health crisis. He was pronounced dead in a hospital three days later. [KTVU]
The agency that controls much of California’s water supply has released figures that fears heightened that the state will fall into another drought. [The Sacramento Bee]
Meet the activists works to remake the food system. [T Magazine]
If you missed it, learn more about the farmer who grows peaches during the pandemic. [The New York Times]
And finally …
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the poet and publisher, the spiritual godfather of the Beat movement, best known for decades as the owner of San Francisco’s beloved City Lights bookstore, died Monday morning. He was 101 years old.
In 1951, Mr. Ferlinghetti arrived in San Francisco, which he described as “all of Bohemia”.
In 1953, he and Peter Martin opened the City Lights paperback store, which originally only contained paperbacks.
And in 2019, in honor of his 100th birthday, there were celebratory readings, documentary screenings – and tours of the old school San Francisco he knew.
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Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.