California lawmakers introduce 'necessary force' bill in wake of Stephon Clark shooting

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A group of California lawmakers introduced a first-of-its-kind bill Tuesday that would change the state's "reasonable force" rule to a "necessary force" standard. (KABC)

A group of California lawmakers introduced a first-of-its-kind bill Tuesday that would change the state's "reasonable force" rule to a "necessary force" standard.

The bill would severely restrict when police are allowed to fire at a suspect. Under current California law, officer-involved shootings are classified as legal if an officer has reason to fear for his or her safety.

Under the new law, officers could more frequently face criminal prosecution if de-escalation tactics are not employed in lieu of deadly force.

Assemblymember Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, were joined by the family of shooting victim Stephon Clark in announcing the bill at a press conference.

"Existing use-of-force laws have made an encounter with law enforcement - no matter how ordinary and no matter whether an individual is unarmed or even cooperative - into one that ends in the death of a civilian," Weber said. "The worst possible outcome is increasingly the only outcome, especially in communities of color."

The California State Sheriff's Association says it has not read the bill and cannot yet comment.

"It's time for California to modernize our century-old deadly force standard," said McCarty. "Our current law enforcement use of force threshold does not work. Revising California's use of force standard will help law enforcement transition to a police system that can prevent the deaths of unarmed individuals and build much needed public confidence in how we keep all our communities safe."

ABC News contributed to this report.
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politicsuse of forcepolice shootingofficer involved shootingpoliticsCalifornia
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