Police killed 1,099 people in 2019. Black people make up 24% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population. Read more about the data and the methodology of data collection here.

Use of Force Project: Analysis of Use of Force Policies across Police Departments

From the Use of Force Project: Police use of force policies often fail to include common-sense limits on police use of force, including:

  • Failing to require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, by communicating with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force

  • Allowing officers to choke or strangle civilians, in many cases where less lethal force could be used instead, resulting in the unnecessary death or serious injury of civilians

  • Failing to require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor

  • Failing to restrict officers from shooting at moving vehicles, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic

  • Failing to develop a Force Continuum that limits the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance

  • Failing to require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force

  • Failing to require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian

  • Failing to require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians"

Campaign Zero: Ten Goals to End Police Violence

From Campaign Zero: "It will take deliberate action by policymakers at every level of government to end police violence. Over 1,000 people are killed by police every year in America. We are calling on local, state, and federal lawmakers to take immediate action to adopt data-driven policy solutions to end this violence and hold police accountable."

Link to complete website here

Campaign Zero's goal is to bring deaths caused by the police per year down to zero. The website includes 10 key goals for policies that have been proven to eliminate police violence. Their website includes explanations of the key aspects of police brutality, specific lists of solutions, and comprehensive research that show that they methods they advocate for work. Below, please find a brief summary of each of these ten goals and some policies and legislative actions that can be taken to achieve these goals:

1. End Broken Windows Policing

A decades-long focus on policing minor crimes and activities - a practice called Broken Windows policing - has led to the criminalization and over-policing of communities of color and excessive force in otherwise harmless situations.
Policy Solutions:
  1. End policing of minor offenses
  2. End profiling and "stop-and-frisk"
  3. Establish alternative approaches to mental health crises

2. Community Oversight

Police usually investigate and decide what, if any, consequences their fellow officers should face in cases of police misconduct.
Policy Solutions:
  1. Establish effective civilian oversight structures
  2. Remove barriers to reporting police misconduct

3. Limit Use of Force

Police should have the skills and cultural competence to protect and serve our communities without killing people - just as police do in England, Germany, Japan and other developed countries.
Policy Solutions:
  1. Establish standards and reporting of police use of deadly force
  2. Revise and strengthen local department use of force policies
  3. End traffic-related police killings and dangerous high-speed police chases
  4. Monitor how police use force and proactively hold officers accountable for excessive force

4. Independently Investigate and Prosecute

Local prosecutors rely on local police departments to gather the evidence and testimony they need to successfully prosecute criminals. This makes it hard for them to investigate and prosecute the same police officers in cases of police violence. These cases should not rely on the police to investigate themselves and should not be prosecuted by someone who has an incentive to protect the police officers involved.
Policy Solutions:
  1. Lower the standard of proof for Department of Justice civil rights investigations of police officers
  2. Use federal funds to encourage independent investigations and prosecutions
  3. Establish a permanent Special Prosecutor's Office at the State level for cases of police violence
  4. Require independent investigations of all cases where police kill or seriously injure civilians

5. Community Representation

While white men represent less than one third of the U.S. population, they comprise about two thirds of U.S. police officers. The police should reflect and be responsive to the cultural, racial and gender diversity of the communities they are supposed to serve. Moreover, research shows police departments with more black officers are less likely to kill black people.
Policy Solutions:
  1. Increase the number of police officers who reflect the communities they serve
  2. Use community feedback to inform police department policies and practices

6. Body Cams / Film the Police

While they are not a cure-all, body cameras and cell phone video have illuminated cases of police violence and have shown to be important tools for holding officers accountable. Nearly every case where a police officer was charged with a crime for killing a civilian in 2015 relied on video evidence showing the officer's actions.
Policy Solutions:
  1. Require the use of body cameras - in addition to dashboard cameras - and establish policies governing their use
  2. Ban police officers from taking cell phones or other recording devices without a person's consent or warrant and give people the right to sue police departments if they take or destroy these devices

7. Training

The current training regime for police officers fails to effectively teach them how to interact with our communities in a way that protects and preserves life. For example, police recruits spend 58 hours learning how to shoot firearms and only 8 hours learning how to de-escalate situations.
Policy Solutions:
  1. Invest in rigorous and sustained training on topics such as crisis intervention, and de-escalation
  2. Intentionally consider 'unconscious' or 'implicit' racial bias

8. End For-Profit Policing

Police should be working to keep people safe, not contributing to a system that profits from stopping, searching, ticketing, arresting and incarcerating people.
Policy Solutions:
  1. End police department quotas for tickets and arrests
  2. Limit fines and fees for low-income people
  3. Prevent police from taking the money or property of innocent people
  4. Require police departments to bear the cost of misconduct

9. Demilitarization

Local police departments can misuse military weaponry to intimidate and repress communities. In 2014, militarized SWAT teams killed at least 38 people and studies show that more militarized police departments are significantly more likely to kill civilians.
Policy Solutions:
  1. End the federal government's 1033 program, which provides military weaponry to local police departments
  2. Establish local restrictions to prevent police departments from purchasing or using military weaponry

10. Fair Police Union Contracts

Police unions have used their influence to establish unfair protections for police officers in their contracts with local, state and federal government and in statewide Law Enforcement Officers' Bills of Rights. These provisions create one set of rules for police and another for civilians, and make it difficult for Police Chiefs or civilian oversight structures to punish police officers who are unfit to serve.
Policy Solutions:
  1. Remove barriers to effective misconduct investigations and civilian oversight
  2. Keep officers' disciplinary history accessible to police departments and the public
  3. Ensure financial accountability for officers and police departments that kill or seriously injure civilians

California Legislation

Pending Legislation

AB 901: Stop Criminalizing Adolescent Behavior

Bill description from the ACLU: "In far too many places across California, juvenile probation has become a knee-jerk reaction to young people who are simply having trouble in school or at home but who haven’t been accused of a crime. Criminalizing adolescent behavior and placing young people on probation means young people are forced to sign away their rights to privacy and due process and to submit to surprise searches, unannounced home visits, restrictions on who they can speak to, and invasive interrogations about their private lives. In Riverside County alone, over 3,000 young people were placed on probation between 2005-2016 for behavior like being late to class, having poor attendance, and being “easily persuaded by peers.” Black and Latinx students were disproportionately referred to probation for this normal adolescent behavior.

It’s time we stop systematically treating young people, especially young people of color, young people with disabilities, and LGBTQ youth, like lost causes. AB 901 will make sure youth are instead referred to community programs to provide them with the tools, resources, and support they need to succeed. It’s time to pass AB 901 and set up California’s young people for real success."

Bill text available here

AB 2054: The C.R.I.S.E.S. [Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems] Act

Bill description from the ACLU: "In a time of crisis, CA has the opportunity to invest in community-led interventions proven more effective in impact and cost.

Across CA, community organizations have been effectively responding to emergency situations. Now more than ever, it is time we make investments to scale these cost-saving responses and ensure communities emerge more resilient.

The C.R.I.S.E.S. Act pilot grant program will provide stability, safety, and culturally informed and appropriate responses to immediate emergency situations such as a mental health crisis, people experiencing homelessness, intimate partner violence, and natural disasters. These organizations will also aid in the follow-up to those emergencies by involving community organizations with a deeper knowledge and training in responding to those situations."

Bill text available here

Passed California Legislation

  • Ending Broken Windows Policing

    • AB953 (passed 10/03/15, text): Supports police training on racial/identity profiling and implicit bias.

    • SB54 (passed 10/05/17, text): Prohibits law enforcement agencies, school police, and security departments from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.

  • Community Oversight: No recent legislation passed.

  • Limit Use of Force

    • AB71 (passed 10/03/15, text): Requires reporting of data on police killings.

    • SB1421 (passed 09/30/18, text): Allows records of police misconduct including deadly force, taser use, sexual assault, and officer dishonesty to be released to the public.

    • AB392 (passed 08/19/19, text): Changes the state deadly force standard from “reasonable” to “necessary” and holds police accountable for their actions leading up to using deadly force, including escalating the situation, when evaluating whether such force was justified.

  • Independently Investigate & Prosecute

    • SB227 (passed 08/11/15, text): Prohibits the use of grant juries to decide in proceedings closed to the public whether to charge officers involved in police killings, instead has these cases decided by a judge in a preliminary hearing.

  • Community Representation: No recent legislation passed.

  • Body Cams / Film the Police

    • AB256 (passed 10/03/15, text): Makes it a felony for police officers to tamper with digital evidence (i.e. body camera footage, digital images, etc.).

    • SB411 (passed 08/11/15, text): Protects Californians' right to film police officers.

    • AB748 (passed 09/30/18, text): Requires body camera video to be released within 45 days of a deadly force incident.

  • Training

    • SB11 (passed 10/03/15, text): Requires the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to evaluate and improve police training related to interacting with people with mental illness.

    • SB29 (passed 10/03/15, text): Requires police receive at least 8 hours of crisis intervention training.

  • End For-Profit Policing: No recent legislation passed.

  • Demilitarization: No recent legislation passed.

  • Fair Police Union Contracts: No recent legislation passed.

Disclaimer: Take Action Sonoma County is not a formal organization, company, or agency. We are citizens of Sonoma County with the goal of consolidating information from outside agencies and individuals to help others take action. We aim to offer a well-rounded menu of action items as they are shared with us. Readers are encouraged to research the resources provided here to determine if they correspond with their own viewpoints and action steps. This site may not provide a comprehensive list of events and action items. We aim to update our site every 48 hours; please excuse any delays as this is a goal, not an absolute. If you have any concerns or suggestions, please email us at