- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California lawmakers took up bills to regulate videos of police activities and law enforcement’s acquisition of surplus military on Wednesday as hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrated outside the governor’s office urging the Legislature to take action on a bill to require better oversight of police interactions with the public.

The protesters were there to support AB953 by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, which faces a Senate vote. The bill changes the definition of “racial profiling” and would require local law enforcement agencies to collect demographic data including the race of those they stop.

About 800 protesters were bused to Sacramento Wednesday for the rally organized by several groups that back Weber’s bill, including the ACLU of California and PICO California, a coalition of nonprofits. Some wore T-shirts that said “We Demand Fair Policing,” as they chanted “Governor, Shame on You” outside Gov. Jerry Brown’s Capitol office.

A group of protesters eventually locked arms and blocked the entrance to Brown’s office, but they left after several hours and were not charged.

In the Senate, meanwhile, lawmakers approved a bill setting standards for local governments to accept surplus military equipment like armored vehicles, heavy weapons and aircraft. AB36 passed by a 31-4 vote, but returns to the Assembly for consideration of significant changes.



They also unanimously advanced two bills addressing the growing issue of videotaping of police interactions with the public.

AB69 would govern data collected by police body cameras, while AB256 would protect videos recorded by the public from being altered or destroyed.

“It is critical that we send a message that altering or deleting these videos will not be tolerated,” Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino, said of AB256.

Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, called AB69 a good first step to uniformity in the way law enforcement handles body camera footage. The measure was supported by Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, but he wants more safeguards to ensure that police video from confrontations isn’t “turned over to the news media and the whole case is tried that night on the evening news.”

Both bills also go back to the Assembly for final action.

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