Proposal From Bay Area Lawmaker Seeks To Weed Out Extremists From Becoming Police
SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) has introduced a measure seeking to weed out extremists in law enforcement like those associated with the 3 Percenters, Proud Boys, KKK or QAnon. But critics warn the bill is so broadly written it could apply to many more groups.
The bill, known as Assembly Bill 655, follows the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol, and warnings from the FBI of groups infiltrating law enforcement.
"The goal of the bill really is to prevent those that are affiliated with hate groups that express violence, or threats of violence," Kalra said.
The California Peace Officers' Association said as it stands now, AB655 is too broadly written.
"I think that the end goal is the same, is to try and root out that kind activity and nobody wants to get rid of people who shouldn't be cops more than agencies and more than good cops. But there has to be a right way to do it and make sure that the language is clear. And I think that the bill, 655, isn't quite as clear as it could be," said Shaun Rundle of the CPOA
David Levine, a constitutional law professor at UC Hastings says it's likely, as written, to be deemed unconstitutional in court due to issues with freedom of expression and religion.
"The definitions of a hate group in particular are so broad that it would encompass all sorts of groups that nobody would say would actually constitute some sort of a problematic hate group," Levine said.
As written, it could include groups like the Catholic Church, which recently said it could not bless same-sex unions.
Kalra says he's already amended the bill.
"We have put in amendments to remove the specificity regarding denial of constitutional rights. Because, you do have the First Amendment right to be part of groups that may differ in opinion," Kalra said.
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