Military and Police

De-Policing California: Cops Involved in Fatality OIS Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Once again, in its never-ending quest to de-police the state of California, the State Assembly is attempting to transform its laws to diminish how courts treat law enforcement officers involved in officer-involved shooting (OIS) fatalities of dangerous suspects.

I became aware of a disturbing issue this morning when I glanced at one of my law enforcement social media pages. About this issue, an officer posted this ominous warning: “Get the hell out now. They [law enforcement agencies] are hiring all over. This @#$%hole of a state doesn’t deserve your loyalty.”

The officer was responding to a USA Today headline that read: “Fatal police shootings could become a crime under proposed California law.”

California Assembly Bill 392 would limit when officers may use deadly force. Rather than relying on instincts, training, and the nature of the situation in the moment, the Assembly would replace the officer’s split-second, life and death decision-making with theirs.

USA Today’s Marco della Cava writes, “Instead of reaching for their guns, officers would be pressed to engage in de-escalation tactics that aim to reduce tension between officer and suspect. Experts said these include listening to the suspect’s story, explaining the actions an officer is about to take and ensuring that the suspect’s dignity is preserved throughout the interaction.”

Is the California Assembly more concerned with a “suspect’s dignity” than with an officer’s life? And, I’ll say it one more time, so pay attention: Officers already use “de-escalation tactics.” Sometimes that includes pulling the trigger. Statements concerned with a suspect’s dignity during an intense lethal-force incident betray an anti-cop bias that police officers are thugs predisposed to shoot suspects. I’ve witnessed way too many incidents of officer restraint to let this ignorant insult go unchallenged.

Where’s all this time cop critics seem to believe cops have in these deadly situations? On some occasions, officers have time to talk to armed suspects. More often, lethal force situations unfold in seconds. A cop walks up to a car, and a suspect points a gun at her face—and pulls the trigger. What do they think when officers face armed suspects? That it’s like a movie scene, and there’s a director sitting by waiting to yell “cut” when things don’t go as written in the leftist script?

When I first read that USA Today headline, my mind first went to “fatal police shootings” meaning the fatal shootings of cops.

As I read the story, I found this was not the case. No, to the Assembly “fatal police shootings” means when a police officer kills a suspect. Fortunately, people shooting cops is still illegal—even in California. But who knows? Will diminishing or abolishing the law that makes it illegal to kill a cop be the next item on the California State Assembly’s de-policing California agenda? Farfetched? I used to think so.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at

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