Rachel Marshall, (415) 416-4469 / Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org
San Francisco—Today, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is delighted to announce that Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law AB 127, a key piece of legislation to remove barriers to police accountability. District Attorney Boudin cosponsored AB 127, which was authored by Senator Sydney Kamlager, and testified on its behalf. The law will remove obstacles to prosecutors holding police accountable.
“I am thrilled that Governor Newsom has signed AB 127 into law to ensure that California is eliminating obstacles to police accountability,” said District Attorney Boudin. “The murder of George Floyd and so many others around the state of California and the nation has reminded us of the need to promote justice for victims of police violence and police misconduct. AB 127 remedies the problem that exists when law enforcement officers refuse to assist in the prosecution of a fellow officer—which can leave prosecutors unable to pursue charges against police who break the law. I am so proud to have cosponsored this bill and thank Senator Kamlager for her authorship and leadership on this important issue.”
“We can’t let a ‘snitches get stitches’ policy strong-arm our criminal legal system. AB 127 fights against this practice and will dramatically help in holding police officers accountable in California,” said Senator Kamlager. “By signing AB 127 into law, we’re showing that procedural barriers or an officer’s unwillingness to speak out do not override the due process a victim of police violence or misconduct is entitled to. Thank you to Governor Newsom, my legislative colleagues, and San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin for recognizing the bureaucratic hurdles that have been used to shield law enforcement and for all your work that led to this momentous occasion.”
AB 127 will make it easier to secure arrest warrants against officers who break the law. One obstacle to prosecution of police officers is the frequent unwillingness of law enforcement officers to assist in the prosecution of one of their own. This can lead to law enforcement officers refusing to provide the necessary information to support an arrest warrant. The law will expand who can attest to probable cause for arrest when the subject of that arrest is a peace officer. This will remove a common barrier to police prosecutions.
Since taking office in 2020, District Attorney Boudin has enacted numerous measures to ensure police are held accountable for criminal acts, just like any other person in San Francisco. These include efforts to cure the conflict of interest when prosecutors accept financial support from law enforcement unions and then must make decisions about if and when to prosecute members of those unions. He has also restructured the District Attorney’s Office’s Independent Investigation Bureau (“IIB”), which has now filed charges against five law enforcement officers in connection with four different incidents.
“I am pleased to see that California is taking important steps to ensure that police officers who break the trust we place in them can be held accountable,” said District Attorney Boudin. “In California, just as in San Francisco, we must ensure that no one is above the law,” said District Attorney Boudin.