Community-Based Alternatives to Policing in California

Friday, June 5, 2020

By Metyia Phillips for The Davis Vanguard

SACRAMENTO – In the recent wake of the death of George Floyd, people all over California have taken to the streets, and helped push the Assembly Appropriations Committee to introducer the C.R.I.S.E.S. Act, AB 2054 (Kamlager).

Co-Sponsors of the C.R.I.S.E.S Act include Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Berkeley Free Clinic, East Bay Community Law Center, Justice Teams Network, Oakland Power Projects, PolicyLink, Public Health Advocates, Stop Terrorism and Oppression by Police Coalition, UDW/AFSCME 3930, and Youth Justice Coalition.

Committee analysis notes that George Floyd is among many countless victims who have died due to police brutality. On May 25, Floyd was apprehended on charges of forgery, but he is later seen on video on the ground with Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee in his neck. After saying “I can’t breathe” multiples times, Floyd later died after eight minutes and 26 seconds of unnecessary force.

“AB 2054 establishes the C.R.I.S.E.S. Act pilot grant program, promoting community-based responses to local emergency situations, including, but not limited to, situations related to: public health crisis, people experiencing homelessness, mental health crisis, intimate partner violence, community violence, substance use, and natural disasters,” the committee said.

Community-based responses, the measure argues, are better than policing responses because the people within community-based organizations have extensive knowledge of “relationships, trust, and local networks to best meet the needs of their community—saving countless lives.”

The bill said it’s an essential piece of legislation because “policing has endangered and killed too many people who were in need of de-escalation and support—particularly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people, and those experiencing a mental health crisis.”

The need for legislation such as this can also be seen in data and all across California where people are protesting.

The legislation notes that data shows that “for young Black men, police violence is a leading cause of death.” It also shows, “As many as half of all people killed by law enforcement in the U.S. have a disability,” demonstrating the need for improvements on policing on behalf of the Black and disabled communities to name a few.

Protesters also appear to be sending a message to the State of California due to their protesting and calling on the governor by saying “we must fund solutions that save lives. We call on the Legislature and the Governor to pass the C.R.I.S.E.S Act, AB 2054, and scale-up community-based responses to emergencies.”

This is the first step toward racial justice in the State of California, the author said, and if the legislation passes it will the first of its kind and, say supporters, more states will adopt similar policies to stop police brutality and motivate racial justice throughout the country.