Bill Amended to Protect Journalists
A second bill has been amended to provide protections for members of the press as well as protestors from unwarranted use of force by police.
AB 1652 by Assembly member Buffy Wicks(D-Oakland) would require law enforcement agencies to include in their use of force policies clear guidelines that prohibit law enforcement officers from using force on members of the press covering a lawful assembly or protest and require that an officer who is found to have intentionally violated this policy be disciplined.
AB 1652 would also require use of force policies to limit the use of “kettling” or “corralling,” techniques and would prohibit officers from failing to wear, or intentionally acting to obscure or conceal information on, a badge while on duty.
A person who is detained or arrested in violation of the law could recover actual damages, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees under the bill’s provisions.
The other bill that was recently amended to protect journalists while covering protests is SB 629 by Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsberg).
AB 1652 has been referred to the Senate Public Safety committee, but has not yet been set for hearing. The Legislature is in recess until July 27th as a result of members testing positive for COVID-19.