The California Reparations Task Force has recently released their final report, calling for state lawmakers to ban the arrest and prosecution of people who violate laws against public urination and other “public disorder offenses.”
The call to end police enforcement of such laws has been met with a sharp rebuke from conservative Republicans.
The task force’s recommendations include prohibiting law enforcement from criminally enforcing public order infractions, which are usually related to homelessness or mental health crises.
According to Fox News:
The call to end police enforcement of laws, including those that prohibit public urination, is among the official policy recommendations listed in the final report, which contains 40 chapters and runs well over 1,000 pages.
“A signification [sic] proportion of law enforcement contact with the public relates to low-level, non-violent offenses. Thus, for example, law enforcement is frequently tasked with enforcing public disorder offenses, such as illegal camping, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, minor trespass, and public urination. Although the subjects of these contacts are often experiencing homelessness, a mental health crisis, or both, the responding officers typically possess neither training nor expertise in working with these vulnerable populations,” the report charges.
Instead, civil penalties would be put in place for those found guilty of these violations. This includes automatic payouts for those arrested or prosecuted for administrative violations, though it does not specify an exact dollar amount that should be granted as reparation.
“This disconnect often results in the use of excessive and sometimes fatal force that falls disproportionately on Black individuals. Given the devastating impacts of this kind of over-policing, the Task Force recommends that the Legislature prohibit law enforcement from criminally enforcing public disorder infractions and other low-level crimes,” the report continues.
“Instead, a public health and safety institution, without criminal arrest or prosecution powers, would enforce prohibitions such as sleeping on the sidewalk, fare evasion, and similar transit-related or other public disorder violations that criminalize poverty. People arrested or criminally prosecuted for these administrative violations should be granted a private right of action to sue for damages or should automatically receive a damages payout.”
The report stops short of giving an exact dollar amount it wants for descendants of slaves who live in the state, though it makes clear the task force thinks the dollar amount should be significant. It also includes dozens of policy recommendations, including the ban on prosecution of “public disorder offenses.”
In addition, the task force has previously supported former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin who championed soft-on-crime policies during his 2019 campaign including not prosecuting cases involving “quality-of-life crimes” such as public camping, offering or soliciting sex or public urination.
These policies have been seen as diminishing respect for law and order among conservatives and disregarding the safety of American citizens.
This proposal is seen by some as dismantling justice systems and making life easier on criminals rather than looking at ways to improve law enforcement operations while following the US Constitution.
This is further complicated by the fact that George Soros’ Open Society Foundation provided financial support to both Boudin’s campaign and the Reparations Task Force’s efforts which may cause conservatives to question their motives even more deeply.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.