March 18, 2021

LAWT News Service


This past week, Senator Bradford (D-Gardena) and Senate President pro Tempore Atkins (D-San Diego) amended Senate Bill 2, the Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2021, to increase accountability for law enforcement officers that commit serious misconduct and illegally violate a person’s civil rights.

“If last summer’s nationwide protests and calls for police reform have shown us anything, it’s that Californians want more than just a superficial change,” said Senator Bradford. “If many professionals licensed in the state of California can have their certification revoked for committing serious misconduct or abusing their authority, then why not police officers?”

“It is critical that California’s police officers meet the highest standards of conduct and have the trust of our communities,” said Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland). “The vast majority of officers want to do what’s required to build and keep trust with the communities they serve. I’m proud to co-author SB 2 by Senator Steven Bradford which would bring us closer to achieving that goal.”

SB 2 will create a statewide decertification process to revoke the certification of a peace officer following the conviction of serious crimes or termination from employment due to misconduct. Additionally, SB 2 will strengthen the Tom Bane Civil Rights Act to prevent law enforcement abuses and other civil rights violations.

“The legal standard in California should be that no one - not even police officers - has immunity from the consequences of violating someone’s civil rights,” said Carl Douglas, President of Douglas/Hicks Law, and Consumer Attorneys of California Board Member. “Bad court rulings have given police a blank check for misconduct without consequence. As long as we are unable to hold officers accountable, our communities will continue to suffer with no recourse to justice. SB 2 will finally end immunity for officer misconduct, and ensure officers who use illegal force can’t re-offend.”

The recent amendments to SB 2 are largely identical to Senate Bill 731 (2020), the Kenneth Ross Jr. Police Decertification Act of 2020. Several of the changes include the following:

Clarification in regards to the Bane Act that employers can indemnify their employees per existing California law.

Changing the composition of the advisory board to include another member of the public and removing a law enforcement officer.

Allowing the Commission to retroactively review certain misconduct related to deadly use of force, sexual assault, or dishonesty for the purpose of decertification.

“California is a national leader in many efforts, but in this one we are dangerously behind the curve,” Senator Bradford stated. “Californians are urging us to pass meaningful and systemic reform that will improve the relationship between police and the communities they serve for generations to come. Like so many people in our state, I look forward to working with Pro Tem Atkins, our co-authors, and all stakeholders to have this bill signed into law.”

SB 2 is sponsored by a coalition of community organizations including: Alliance for Boys and Men of Color, ACLU of California, Anti-Police-Terror Project, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, California Families United 4 Justice, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, PolicyLink, STOP Coalition, and Youth Justice Coalition.

“On October 10, 2016, my son Mauricio Barron was hit by a car, injured and unarmed on the side the I-5 freeway in Irvine when a motorcycle Highway Patrol officer pulled up and shot him in the head and arm, taking his life. He did not call for backup or have his radio on,” said Leticia Barron, CA S.T.O.P Coalition. “After the legislature failed impacted families last year, the Bane Act must be addressed and SB 2 must be passed to help protect people that don't deserve to endure the pain my family has experienced.” 

“San Diego Sherriff Christopher Villanueva shot Sergio Weick 28 times and was never held accountable for that murder. On July 5 of 2017, he shot my cousin Jonathon Coronel 16 times in the back just a few months later, continuing his pattern of killing people of color,” said Rocio Zamora, CA S.T.O.P Coalition. “We need a decertification process now, so that Villanueva and all officers are not allowed to continue their patterns of abuse.” 

Kenneth Ross, Jr. was a 25-year-old African American who was shot and killed by a Gardena police officer in April 2018. The officer who shot and killed Kenneth Ross was the last officer to arrive on the scene, but was the only officer who perceived a threat sufficient to discharge a weapon. Mr. Ross was unarmed and running from officers when shot, and he died at the scene. The officer who killed Mr. Ross was involved in prior shootings and has not been prosecuted for this incident. 

“On April 11, 2018 my son, Kenneth Ross, Jr. was murdered by a Gardena police officer who shot three other people in previous incidents,” said Fouzia Almarou. “If Officer Robbins had been decertified after the first shooting, Kenneth would likely still be here, with his son, his siblings, and me. I’m going to fight with everything in me to get this bill passed so this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”

For additional policy questions on this legislation, please contact Chris Morales at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For press-related inquiries, such as requests for comment/interview, please contact Austin Panush at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Category: News