California lawmakers began pushing a first-in-nation bill this week that would expand state compensation funds to specifically cover victims of police violence, addressing police brutality in the wake of widespread protests following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
Black Lives Matter protesters take to the streets during a march and demonstration on April 4, 2018 … [+]
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The California Victim Compensation Board helps cover expenses, such as burial costs and medical treatment, for victims of violent crime or their families.
Now, they must file police reports in order to verify they are a victim of a crime, but AB-767 would allow the use of other forms of evidence—such as medical records or witness testimony—to prove those claims.
The proposed bill would expand what the state would cover to specifically include instances of police violence, even if an officer hasn’t been formally arrested or charged.
Now, applicants can be denied if they don’t cooperate with police officers at the scene of the crime, but the new bill would prohibit that in cases where officers use excessive force.
Supporters of the bill say the current system makes it nearly impossible for victims of police violence—who are disproportionately people of color—to get compensation because it generally requires corroboration from police departments.
The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association and the California Police Chief Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Forbes, while the California Peace Officers’ Association does not have an official position on the bill and declined to comment.
A version of the bill was introduced in 2019, but it was revamped this week in response to the June shooting of Sean Monterrosa, an unarmed Latino man, in Vallejo. An officer, who was responding to a burglary in progress, shot the 22-year-old after he mistakenly thought a hammer in Monterrosa’s sweatshirt pocket was a gun. His family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Vallejo on Thursday.
“We feel blessed and grateful to have the support of our community during this time, but no one should have to fight for justice and carry on the pain with no resources and support,” said Michelle Monterrosa, Sean Monterrosa’s sister, during a press conference Thursday.
The bill’s authors expect the measure to reach Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk by the end of the month, according to CBS affiliate KPIX.