California has a new use-of-force law. What does it mean for cops and people of color

The new standard restricts lethal force to when it is “necessary in defense of human life” as perceived by a “reasonable” officer and based on the “totality of circumstances.” It also emphasizes deescalation as an effective alternative to lethal force.

If questioned, officers will have to prove there is an “imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury,” and they’ll be evaluated based on the facts they knew leading up to the deadly action.

“The bottom line is that deadly force should only be used when absolutely necessary,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a written statement after he signed the law.

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