California lawmakers filed legislation this week to ban the “racist” use of police canines for arrests and crowd control, sparking some backlash from law enforcement.
Assemblyman Corey Jackson, who represents part of Riverside County, and Assemblyman Ash Kaldra, of South San Jose, introduced AB 742 Feb. 13, to end what they said was deeply racialized and harmful practice of using police dogs against Black Americans and people of color.
“If Black and Brown people are continuously being the victims of use of force, then we must make sure that any use of force is reigned in,” Jackson told The Epoch Times.
The bill also addresses the historic implications of police dogs. Canines were used to “track down my ancestors to put them back into slavery,” he said. They were also used in the 1950s and 1960s during the Civil Rights movement to “stop black people from voting and registering to vote.”
The bill allows canines to still be used for search and rescue operations, detecting bombs, and sniffing out narcotics.
Jackson cited the case of a Marine Corps veteran who was bitten by a police canine after he was mistakenly identified as a suspect by the public, and another instance of an elderly man who was bitten in his backyard and died two months later after he was also wrongly identified.
“I think people will be safer because of it,” Jackson said. “The overwhelming majority of police officers are already doing an excellent job without canines. It’s not like every officer has a police canine.”
According to the California Department of Justice’s Use of Force report (pdf), law enforcement deployed canines 77 times—or about 12 percent of the time—in 2021 and 76 arrests were made. Of those, 36 were Hispanic, 27 were White, and 13 were Black suspects.
Reaction Disputes Race Claims
Ron Cloward, a police dog trainer and president of the Western States Canine Association, disputed facts in the bill and told The Epoch Times it included a lot of false information.
“I’m just tired of people continuing to make race an issue,” Cloward said. “It’s not to me and it never has been, and it isn’t for most of the people I know. Don’t use the motivation of race to try to go after law enforcement and take another tool away.”
According to Cloward, during his career, having his police canine with him kept him from using deadly force in two situations. They help officers and if those tools are taken away, all cops would have left, he said, would be deadly force in some situations.
“I would challenge him as to how it would make the public safer if it would reduce the options law enforcement have,” he said.
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama also spoke out against the bill this week in a rare public news conference.
“We’ve got to give our police officers the tools they need to do their job to protect the public,” he said. “Taking away tools like a canine is going to limit their effectiveness.”
Police dogs haven’t been used for crowd control in years in California, according to Balderrama.
Los Angeles-based attorney Donald Cook, who has represented clients injured by police canines for about 40 years, told The Epoch Times he agreed the legislation was needed but not for the same reasons presented by the politicians.
“It would absolutely be good,” he said. “Dogs should not be used to bite people, period. It brings a level of psychological terror that you don’t get when it’s a human being doing whatever is being done to you.”
Dogs don’t think like humans with the ability to reason or make decisions during apprehension situations, he said. Police dogs are also large and aggressive that have an instinct to bite, he said, noting cops have also been injured by dogs in some dog attack cases.
Cook also noted that in his lengthy experience litigating injury claims, police rarely use canines, because of their close bond with the animals, on dangerous suspects.
He said he is at odds with many of his colleagues and politicians, however, because he doesn’t agree that it’s a racial issue.
“Most cops are not racists. Most policing is not racially motivated,” Cook said.
The Los Angeles Police Department first started using canines in 1980, giving the department a new tool for confronting dangerous suspects.
Jackson Responds to Criticism
Assemblyman Jackson dismissed the criticism, saying anyone who says the bill is about race-baiting was clearly a white supremacist. The bill addresses law enforcement’s own data, he said, and they should focus on fixing the problem because only the data matters.
“The white supremacy in law enforcement must end,” he said. “All we’re saying is, until we find out how to solve this problem in another way, we need to get rid of the practice altogether.”
ACLU California Action and the California and Hawaii NAACP are supporting the bill, according to a press release issued by Jackson.
Excuse me. Now dogs are RACIST? You have to be kidding me. RACIST DOGS? K9s will go after any skin color BAD GUY! Now If German or Belgian Shepard attacked only Jewish people, I’d may consider them racist dogs. LMFAO.
How’s about we ban CALIFORNIA!
Believe it or not there are as many people in the USA with German Heritage as Black African Americans,,,about 50 million. German American White on White crime is noting compared to the violence what Blacks do to blacks. Black and white skin tastes the same to guard dog German Shepherds. Think maybe its the behavior of the criminally minded blacks that is their cause to fear dogs trained to serve and protect, not rob, rape, assault, murder or pee up the legs of the very people closest to them in their own neighborhoods?
I.A.W. U.S. Census & FBI (Table 43a)
Black males make up about 7% of the U.S. population but every year commit ~56% of all the murders and ~64% of all robberies in the U.S... Every year in the U.S. there are ~6,000 African-Americans men, women and children killed and 92% of them were killed by fellow African-Americans.
Blacks make up 23% of New York’s population, but they commit 75% of all shootings. …
Whites are 33% of the New York city’s population, but they commit fewer than 2% of all shootings…
“These disparities mean that 75% of the time that police in New York are called out after a shooting, they are being summoned into minority neighborhoods looking for minority suspects.”
I do not think it is the dogs that are the problem.
BUT you are
A) Using logic
B) Using facts
C) Using Common sense
ALL Three are ‘racist’ these days.
>“If Black and Brown people are continuously being the victims of use of force, then we must make sure that any use of force is reigned in,” Jackson told The Epoch Times.<
Strange as it may seem, I'm never the "victim of use of force". I rarely have any interaction with police at all.
That just might possibly be because I'm not out committing crimes on a daily basis.
I'm no expert in animal behavior, but I sincerely doubt the dogs are "racist", but merely reacting to criminal behavior regardless of the person's color.
It ain't rocket science.
Insanity, complete insanity. Does the fact that 13% of the population commits 60% of the crimes have any impact on leftist thought processes. Could it cross anyone’s mind that the answer to this disparity is to address the genesis of the tendency of the 13% to break the law?
WHAT THOUGHT PROCESS?? they are incapable of having any!
Stop breaking the laws or acting like a crazy person you will be less likely to have any contact with the Police at all.
Yeah, but the arrest numbers involving K9s show that blacks have the lowest number of incidents. The stats are quoted in the article. More made up BS by liberal (black) politicians. Besides, if you follow instructions, don’t run and don’t fight the police, you never have to fear the dog
calimex is going down the tubes. We need a massive earthquake so it can fall into the Pacific.
Don’t forget seattlistan and portlangrad.
I can only shake my head in wonder that anyone takes these liberal lunatics seriously. There was a time when they would have been laughed out of the room – and rightly so.
I have a personal acquaintance with several police officers who are K-9 handlers. You can ask any of them and they’ll tell you in a heartbeat that the dogs don’t give a fart in a windstorm about the skin pigmentation of a criminal.
Bet most dogs will chase any cat, regardless of color, just as they (Police K9) chase and bite anyone that they (Police K9) are told to chase and stop/prevent from escaping.
The garbage that the Left is spewing gets more and more insane all the time! They see racism EVERYWHERE! Even in dogs!
It’s because they themselves are the biggest racists.
In all honesty, there are a few racists on each side of the isle, but MOST of the racists in the country are Leftists.
I like what Danzel Washington said “People Improve Race Relations, Not Policy”
Typical Libs – raise the ugly specter of something that happened decades ago, and dredge up a couple of more recent isolated dog bite incidents to justify a completely stupid piece of legislation. The same clowns that want this will moan and cry when there is no K9 officer to track down a fleeing killer in their neighborhood. Also, not having the K9 available raises the risks for their human partners. I imagine the cops won’t have much sympathy for any “legislator” that proposes this nonsense!
Sheer left wing lunacy and reverse color prejudice. Frankly, anyone of any color attending a demonstration where police dogs need to be deployed has asked for that to happen and should be prepared for appropriate police action.