Survivors of Police Violence Speak Out in Support of Lorena Gonzalez Bill to Regulate Use of Force at Protests

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

SACRAMENTO – (Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020) – Today, Californian State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) held a virtual event with survivors of police violence at protests to urge the state Senate to pass Assembly Bill 66, which would create the nation’s first standards for how and when law enforcement agencies can deploy so-called “less lethal” weapons, like rubber bullets and pepper spray. It would also ban the use of tear gas for crowd control.

A recorded version of the event is available to view here: https://bit.ly/3ht5hMZ

“We’ve watched in horror as rubber bullets and tear gas have been used on protesters exercising their first amendment rights, causing serious life-threatening injuries,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “It’s time that we have a statewide standard on these uses of force, and ensure police officers are not endangering the lives of individuals who pose no threat to others.”

The state Senate is expected to vote on AB 66 this week. A coalition of state legislators is joining Gonzalez in this effort, including Assemblymembers Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), Cristina Garcia (D-Los Angeles), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco), and Senators Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).

Senator Gonzalez and Assemblymember McCarty provided remarks at today’s event. Several survivors shared their stories, including Leslie Furcron of San Diego; Shantania Love, Foucha Coner and Colleen Carbery of Sacramento; and Bradley Steyn of Los Angeles.

What other legislators are saying about AB 66…

“I am proud to co-author AB 66, which limits the use of certain weapons, including rubber bullets and chemical agents, at lawful demonstrations,” Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) said. “Peaceful protesters should not have to fear harm by these weapons when exercising their right to free speech under the First Amendment.”

“After George Floyd’s killing, protestors, including myself, exercised our constitutional right to denounce heavy-handed and too often deadly policing of Black People. In many instances law enforcement met our yells for justice with riot gear, rubber bullets, and tear gas. At times it felt like some law enforcement came in ready to fight protestors,”
Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said. “Ironically, research shows us that excessive force helps create the very violence that it’s meant to prevent.  When law enforcement continues to ignore research and our constitutional rights, it’s clear that it’s hard to change police culture on its own and laws like AB 66 are needed. That’s why I am proud to be a Joint Author of this measure.”

"We have seen the devastation caused by so-called 'less lethal' weapons on our streets,"
Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) said. "We cannot allow these very dangerous weapons to be turned on protestors who are simply exercising their constitutional rights."

For questions on today’s event and AB 66, or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Sami Gallegos: samantha.gallegos@asm.ca.gov