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The Racial & Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (AB-953)

On October 3 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed The Racial & Identity Profiling Act of 2015 (AB-953) into California law, which is a a data collection law to combat concerns about racial profiling and police misconduct. According to the ACLU, “California holds the ominous record for the highest number of deaths in the country, with 149 people killed by law enforcement in the state this year. However, the state still does not collect, analyze, or make available basic information about who the police, stop, search or even shoot.” Here are nine (9) key changes as a result of the new law:

#1 | The law requires establishment of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (RIPA) to eliminate racial and identity profiling and improve diversity, racial and identity sensitivity in law enforcement. The advisory board would analyze stop data and develop recommendations to address problems with disparate policing where they exist.

#2 | Each state and local agency that employs peace officers are required to annually report to the Attorney General data on all stops conducted by the agency’s peace officers for the preceding calendar year (A “stop” is defined as any detention by a peace officer of a person, or any peace officer interaction with a person in which the peace officer conducts a search, including a consensual search, of the person’s body or property in the person’s possession or control).

#3 | The law requires officers in California to record the time, date, and location of each stop.

#4 | The law requires officers in California to record the reason for the stop, and the result of the stop. Examples include results such as “no action,” “warning,” “citation,” “property seizure,” or “arrest.” If officers are issuing a warning or citation, they must make a record of what warning was provided or the violation cited. If officers are making an arrest, they must record the offense charged.

#5 | The law requires officers in California to record the perceived race or ethnicity, gender, and approximate age of the person stopped, provided that the identification of these characteristics shall be based on the observation and perception of the peace officer making the stop, and the information shall not be requested from the person stopped.

#6 | The law requires cataloguing the actions taken by the officer during the stop including 1) whether the peace officer asked for consent to search the person, and, if so, whether consent was provided; 2) whether the peace officer searched the person or any property, and, if so, the basis for the search and the type of contraband or evidence discovered if any; and 3) whether the peace officer seized any property and, if so, the type of property that was seized and the basis for seizing the property.

AB 953 by Reed Law

#7 | The law requires recording the total number of administrative actions taken by law enforcement, judicial, penal, and correctional agencies or institutions, including those in the juvenile justice system, in dealing with criminals or delinquents and the total number of citizen complaints received by law enforcement agencies, alleging criminal conduct of either a felony or misdemeanor, and/or alleging racial or identity profiling.

#8 | The law starts to take effect in 2017. No later than January 1, 2017, uniform regulations will be issued for the collection and reporting of the data required by the law. The regulations shall specify all data to be reported, and provide standards, definitions, and technical specifications to ensure uniform reporting practices across all reporting agencies. Additionally, all data and reports made pursuant to this section are public and are open to public inspection.

#9 | Changing Cultural Norms: The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015 revises the definition of “racial profiling” to instead refer to “racial or identity profiling”, and makes a conforming change to the prohibition against peace officers engaging in that practice. This will update California’s definition of racial and identity profiling to be in congruence with federal recommendations by including other demographic characteristics, such as gender and sexual orientation. This is about justice for all victims of police brutality and discrimination, an issue dominated by, but not limited to, the racial component.