California is looking to pass legislation that would ban law enforcement agencies from using police K-9s to nab suspects because it’s a “racist” practice.
Bill AB-742 is being considered by state lawmakers in an effort to end a “deeply racialized and harmful practice,” assembly members Corey Jackson and Ash Kalra said, according to Fox News.
“The use of police canines has inflicted brutal violence and lifelong trauma on Black Americans and communities of colour,” Jackson said in a statement.
“This bill marks a turning point in the fight to end this cruel and inhumane practice and build trust between the police and the communities they serve.”
Under the bill, police dogs would be banned from apprehensions, arrests and crowd control, though the K-9ss can still be used to sniff out bombs, drugs or other incidents where biting isn’t involved.
“We’re trying to make sure people are not harmed and seriously injured by using K9s,” Jackson said. “Many of these bites can cause lifelong injuries,” he continued. “So let’s make this clear lifelong injuries before you’re proven guilty.”
During a press conference, Kalra described the use of police dogs as a practice “rooted in slavery.”
He explained: “We can see during the time of our nation’s history, whether it’s the civil rights movement or to this day in Black and brown communities. This is an opportunity for us to continue to bring humanity to our criminal justice system.”
Experts in police dog training and tactics believe the proposed bill could have severe consequences.
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“To me, it’s a knee-jerk reaction,” retired K-9 handler Bob Eden told the outlet. “A lot of times we’re dealing with violent people that won’t submit otherwise or wouldn’t be captured otherwise.”
He added that police dogs often de-escalate situations before they are ever deployed and that “the number of dogs that are on the street reduce the number of assaults on officers and the number of officer involved shootings, which ultimately would also probably save the life of a number of suspects that otherwise would have been on the receiving end of gunfire.”
Twitter were shocked by the legislation being proposed in California.
“Ban everything that can help with policing,” one person tweeted. “Pretty soon they’ll ban hands and the police will have to just rely on their own charm and charisma.”
Another added: “When I think CA can’t be any more ridiculous, they find a way.”
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