Gov. Jerry Brown (Calif.) has signed a bill that will help change the way police killings are viewed in the court of law.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Brown approved the bill “SB 227,” which blocks the use of a secret grand jury in cases of deadly or excessive force by police. Another law was also formed to protect civilians recording a police officer during an encounter.
The measures were inspired by the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Their deaths included elements of video and photos that helped spread police injustices, but unfortunately, did not follow through with an indictment against the officers in question.
Lawmakers in Los Angeles and Santa Clara have avoided using grand juries in incidents where an officer caused the death of a civilian. One of the bill’s early supporters, Sen. Holly Mitchell, commented on the move and how it can help make cases similar to Brown and Garner’s “more transparent.”
“One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand why SB 227 makes sense,” Mitchell said in a statement. “The use of the criminal grand jury process, and the refusal to indict as occurred in Ferguson and other communities of color, has fostered an atmosphere of suspicion that threatens to compromise our justice system.”
Law enforcement groups were not pleased with the new measures, but Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) sided with Mitchell in hopes the rest of the country will follow suit.