ACLU backing California police reform bills

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTVU) - The ACLU of Northern California says two police reform bills before lawmakers in Sacramento would be an "important step toward improving public safety and upholding civil liberties"

AB 953 would expand the definition of racial profiling and require local law enforcement to report racial data on traffic and pedestrian stops as well as arrests.

AB 619 would require police departments track data on "serious" use of force incidents.

Both bills would require that data be submitted to the California Attorney General.

"Under the current system there is no state requirement to collect and share data on the use of force by police unless it causes death," said ACLU Northern California Director Abdi Soltani.

Soltani says some larger law enforcement agencies in California do collect racial profile data on stops and arrests. But, that information is not readily available the public.

"The purpose is to improve the trust between communities and law enforcement," said Soltani.

The ACLU will rally at the State Capitol on Monday in support of the two bills as they lobby lawmakers for their passage.

A legislative effort decades ago to require local police departments collect racial profile data passed but was vetoed by then Governor Davis.

Opponents at the time cited costs and the questionable value of the data collected.