California lawmakers propose ‘George Floyd’ law to punish bystander cops

The bill would place a criminal penalty on officers who stand by and do nothing to deescalate a situation.

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California lawmakers want to punish police who fail to intervene when colleagues use excessive force. 

The proposed “George Floyd “ law would make bystander officers an accessory to any crime committed by the officer using unwarranted force if they choose to remain silent on the sidelines.

The bill, authored by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), aims to crack the “blue code of silence” by holding officers accountable via possible criminal charges and being banned from law enforcement, Los Angeles Times reports.

Law enforcement agencies across the state have slammed the bill, noting that police often have mere seconds to react to a potentially deadly situation.

Read More: California reports record high number of coronavirus deaths

“This misguided proposal criminalizes officers who may not have a complete understanding of the incident and have different viewpoints. Strong policies, robust training and fair discipline is far more appropriate than criminal sanctions,” said the board of directors of the Los Angeles Police Protective League in a statement.

The proposal comes two months after Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin while being detained. Widely circulated video of the disturbing incident shows the officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, until Floyd loses consciousness.

The other three officers on the scene failed to stop Chauvin from crushing the life out of Floyd. All now facing criminal charges.

“It shattered my heart,” said Holden of the footage. “It was the inaction of the other officers that caused a real concern because they never tried to stop it.”

Holden’s bill would place a criminal penalty on officers who stand by and do nothing to deescalate a situation.

“There needs to be physical intervention,” he said. “There also needs to be making sure that the body camera is on, that there is an effort to deescalate the situation.”

But police trainer Ed Obayashi called Holden’s proposal “impractical.”

He cited recent protests where officers deployed rubber bullets, noting that “It’s a slippery slope.”

“You’ve got 30 officers in a skirmish line and one deploys a projectile and it hits someone in the head. What are the other officers supposed to do?” he asked.

Law enforcement have also criticized the proposal over language related to the use of deadly force. They want a clear definition that excessive force is permissible when all other options have been exhausted, per Yahoo.

Earlier this week, a definition of what is “necessary” was reportedly added to Holden’s bill.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!