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California to investigate deadly officer-involved shootings of unarmed people

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Posted at 3:52 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 20:42:50-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGTV) - On Wednesday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta laid out the state's new plan for increasing oversight of certain officer-involved shootings cases.

"Under AB 1506, the California Department of Justice, for the first time, is required by law to investigate all incidents of an officer-involved shooting resulting in the death of an unarmed civilian," Bonta told reporters.

Bonta said that historically, these cases were handled primarily by local law enforcement and district attorneys, but having the Department of Justice's involvement will insert greater transparency and accountability.

Yusef Miller with the Racial Justice Coalition said it's a step in the right direction.

"It's more of an independent investigation [rather than] local law enforcement investigating local officers which we do not trust," he told ABC 10News.

Geneviéve Jones-Wright, with Community Advocates for Just and Moral Governance, also favors the state's role.

"It will pretty much be an attempt to build trust with the community when they see that there's a neutral and detached party looking into these officer-involved shootings that result in fatalities," she added.

The Department of Justice will deploy teams to the scenes of shootings to investigate.

"They will serve as concurrent, independent special agent investigators of these critical incidents," said Bonta.

They'll turn their findings over to the Special Prosecutions Section for review and those findings will reportedly be posted for the public.

"Based on historical data, we estimate that there will be approximately 40 to 50 officer-involved shootings each year requiring the involvement of the California Department of Justice," added Bonta.