ACLU sues Pomona Police Division over its lethal drive coverage

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Pomona Police Division, alleging that it has been utilizing public funds below the affect of a lobbying group to undertake insurance policies and coaching that undermine state legislation on police use of lethal drive.

The grievance, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court docket on Friday, names the Pomona Police Division, its Chief Michael Ellis, and the town of Pomona as defendants. It was filed on behalf of Gente Organizada, a Pomona social motion group, and a member of a Pomona coalition known as Police Oversight Begins Immediately.

Requests for remark left with the Pomona Police Division, the town of Pomona, and the Peace Officers Analysis Assn. of California, or PORAC, weren’t instantly returned.

Allegations within the lawsuit middle on the Police Division’s implementation of a state legislation — Meeting Invoice 392 — that modified the usual for justifying using deadly drive from when it’s “affordable” to when it’s “essential.” When the legislation took impact on Jan. 1, it was described as one of many hardest requirements within the nation concerning use of lethal drive.

Plaintiffs contend that the division’s use-of-force coverage references a “reasonableness” normal all through and “doesn’t acknowledge” that AB 392 created the “essential” normal. In consequence, they declare that the division is making use of an inaccurate authorized normal when it investigates its use of lethal drive.

Beforehand, prosecutors might solely take into account the second deadly drive was used when figuring out if an officer acted throughout the legislation. Underneath the brand new normal, prosecutors may scrutinize the actions each of officers and suspects main as much as an encounter.

“… Pomona Police Division instructs its officers that AB 392 didn’t change the authorized normal for cops’ use of lethal drive,” the lawsuit states. “This instruction is wrong: it misstates the authorized normal of AB 392 and establishes a unique and decrease normal for Pomona Police Division officers’ makes use of of lethal drive that violates state legislation.”

The plaintiffs contend that the Pomona Police Division has skilled its officers on using lethal drive counting on supplies created by PORAC, the state’s largest legislation enforcement labor group. Whereas acknowledging that PORAC declared it was “impartial” towards the invoice a number of months earlier than it was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug 6, 2019, the lawsuit alleges that the group “started obstructing its implementation as quickly because it grew to become legislation.”

In line with the lawsuit, three days after the legislation was signed, the president of PORAC emailed its members claiming that the brand new normal was “in keeping with present case legislation” and would “not considerably influence” how police carry out their jobs. The Pomona Police Division’s coaching middle then despatched that e-mail to the entire division’s sworn officer. Shortly afterward, coaching on the brand new legislation was carried out for officers that relied on PORAC supplies, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit seeks a number of injunctions, together with a halt to using Pomona Police Division sources to coach officers that state legislation doesn’t set up a “essential” normal for using lethal drive.

Occasions reporter Anita Chabria contributed to this report.