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Governor Newsom Announces Policing Reforms

Governor Newsom meets with community members in Los Angeles, alongside Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. – Courtesy photo / Governor’s Office

After a week of meetings with civic leaders and law enforcement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and demonstrations nationwide, Governor Newsom on Friday announced his support for new policing and criminal justice reforms. The governor called for a statewide standard for policing peaceful protests and ending the carotid hold. 

“We will not sit back passively as a state. I am proud that California has advanced a new conversation about broader criminal justice reform, but we have an extraordinary amount of work left to do to manifest a cultural change and a deeper understanding of what it is that we’re working to advance. We will continue to lead in a direction that does justice to the message heard all across this state and nation,” said Newsom.

Newsom called for the creation of new standards for crowd control and use of force in protests, and for the end of the carotid hold — a chokehold that renders a person unconscious by constricting veins in their neck — and other similar techniques in California, directing that the carotid hold be removed from the state police training program and state training materials. Although the governor does not have the authority to prohibit local police departments from using the technique, he committed to working with the legislature on a statewide ban that would apply to all police forces across the state.  

“At the end of the day, a carotid hold that literally is designed to stop people’s blood from flowing into their brain, that has no place any longer in 21st-century practices and policing,” Newsom stated.

The governor also expressed his support for a measure to reinstate affirmative action in state colleges, universities and agencies; and a bill (AB 3121) to establish a reparations committee to educate Californians about slavery and to recommend direct and indirect settlements to help redress generations of inequality.

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