On Sept. 30, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed eight bills into law that support police reform with one of the bills named after Angelo Quinto, who died after an officer knelt on his neck for five minutes during a mental health crisis.
The incident: On Dec. 23, 2020, Antioch police received a call from Quinto’s sister, who alerted them about his crisis.
- The 30-year old Filipino American Navy veteran had been experiencing paranoiac episodes after sustaining a head injury and was in an agitated and fearful state before the officers arrived.
- Quinto allegedly calmed down after the officers arrived but was still restrained by them. He lost consciousness and died in a hospital three days later.
- In August, Quinto’s family filed a lawsuit against the Antioch police where they accused the chief of a cover-up after officers allegedly claimed that the Navy veteran was high on meth. John Burris, the family’s attorney, pointed instead to an independent autopsy of Quinto’s body that showed no drugs in his system at the time and petechial hemorrhaging in his eyes, which is a sign of asphyxiation.
Rallying: After months of rallying for justice for Quinto and other victims of excessive force and chokeholds, especially after the prominence of George Floyd’s murder, Angelo’s Law or Assembly Bill 490 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson), bans restraint tactics and face-down holds that would cause asphyxiation in California, according to AP News. Newsom was joined by Quinto’s family at the signing.
- The other seven bills cover the following:
- AB 26 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena): police officers must immediately report potential excessive force and intervene if another officer is doing it. Officers are prohibited from retaliating against those who report.
- AB 48 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego): bans usage of rubber bullets or tear gas.
- AB 89 by Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles): to be an officer, the applicant must be at least 21, instead of 18.
- AB 481 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco): regulates military equipment funding, acquisition and use.
- AB 958 by Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Carson): officers will have their badges taken if they are a part of a “law enforcement gang,” a group of officers who participate in “unlawful or unethical on-duty behavior.”
- SB 2 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena): existing officers or officer applicants will be disqualified or revoked of certificates if the newly formed Peace Officer Standards Accountability Advisory Board finds prior offenses such as, sexual assault, bias, excessive force, false arrest or being a part of a law enforcement gang.
- SB 16 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley): more transparency to the public of an officers’ use of excessive force or being a bystander to an officer doing it, as well as other misconducts.
- “Too many lives have been lost due to racial profiling and excessive use of force. We cannot change what is past, but we can build accountability, root out racial injustice and fight systemic racism. We are all indebted to the families who have persevered through their grief to continue this fight and work toward a more just future,” Newsom said.
- With the implementation of SB 2, California joins 46 other states in disallowing abusive officers with prior misconducts from transferring to another department instead of being made accountable, according to the Los Angeles Times.