For law enforcement officers, the decision to use deadly force to save their own lives and those of others must often be made in split-seconds. This was vividly displayed this past week in three separate incidents involving Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs, which left three deputies shot, and one in Sacramento, which left a deputy dead.
, a passenger in a vehicle stepped out of his car and brandished a gun. It appears that while struggling over the gun with the suspect, one deputy was shot.
In East Los Angeles
, two deputies were shot when a vehicle they intended to pull over suddenly stopped, the driver stepped out and began firing at the deputies.
, an armed robbery suspect got out of his car with a gun after being stopped and was subsequently shot by deputies.
These three instances only
reinforce our opposition to AB 931
or a future bill like it which seeks to
criminalize use of force by law enforcement officers
That bill ignored the reality that was articulated by the United States Supreme Court: “[P]olice officers are often forced to make split-second judgments — in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving…” Instead, the bill would have forced law enforcement officers to go through a checklist of alternatives before employing deadly force or run the risk they could be criminally prosecuted for a “reasonable” action at the time deadly force was employed.
We haven’t heard anything from proponents of AB 931 regarding the deputies wounded in Los Angeles nor the deputy killed in Sacramento this past week. Maybe those legislators read the recent story in the Sacramento Bee entitled
In seconds you can be fighting for your life.' How routine calls can quickly turn dangerous for police
that described the recent murder of Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff Mark Stasyuk. Deputy Stasyuk was killed by a suspect within ten seconds of entering the door at a local Pep Boys while responding to a “routine” customer disturbance call. We can only hope that incident and the shootings of our three Los Angeles County deputies makes an impact on legislators as they consider a successor bill to AB 931 in the next legislative session.
We thank all law enforcement officers who risk their lives to save ours, every day and night. We wish a speedy and full recovery to our deputies wounded in the line of duty and we send prayers to the family of Deputy Stasyuk who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the citizens of Rancho Cordova.