There are many individuals and organizations working to hold law enforcement accountable and to build power for vulnerable incarcerated people and Black and Brown communities. Specifically in Los Angeles County this work includes:
Holding Individual Deputies Accountable
In 2016 Los Angeles County spent $50.1 million on payouts stemming from sheriff violence. This money isn’t coming from the pockets of the deputies that shot, assaulted, and wrongly imprisoned people, but from the taxpayers. In fact, many of the deputies that committed the costly misconduct are still on the force collecting over $100,000 in yearly salary and benefits. Imagine if we changed the system to where individual deputies had to pay these settlements and didn’t have police officer bill of rights, unions, hearings, and commissions to hide behind to avoid discipline. Contact Dignity and Power Now if you’re interested in working on this issue.
L.A. County implemented a Civilian Oversight Commission in early 2017 to “improve public transparency and accountability with respect to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.” However they have no power beyond giving recommendations. In order for them to even subpoena documents and records from the LASD they would need further authority. One way to achieve that is by gathering thousands of signatures and putting a county charter change on the ballot. Contact Dignity and Power Now if you’re interested in working on this issue.
Changing the Law
Senate Bill-1286: Peace Officers Records of Misconduct was a landmark bill that was introduced in 2015 to make certain records of misconduct public. Although it did not pass it won’t be the last bill of it’s kind. In fact there are bills on the floor right now like AB 748 that would require law enforcement to publicly release body camera footage within 90 days in cases where it’s reasonably believed they violated law or policy, AB 1428 that would require law enforcement to post findings of shooting investigations publicly online within 30 days, AB 1440 that specifies ICE agents are not CA peace officers, AB 1199 that would require law enforcement undergo training on how to have safe interactions with dogs, and AB 163 that would implement policies about school police interactions and encourage the reduction of police on campuses. If you want to support these bills contact your legislators.
Projects like The Problematic are the ideas of formerly incarcerated people brought to life with the support of a team and shared experiences. Joining your local abolitionist organization or starting one of your own can be the first step to a world of change. If you are in Los Angeles contact Dignity and Power Now and we can help you find an organization working on the issues you care about most.