The California chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements after an Escondido police officer shot and killed a man experiencing homelessness after Wednesday morning. The man’s name has not been released and details of the shooting are continuing to unfold. Although each instance of police violence is unique, police violence is gun violence and fatal use of force should be avoided if possible.
“This shooting is a tragic reminder of how devastating gun violence is in our state,” said Jade O’Connor, a volunteer with Students Demand Action in California. “Our hearts are with the family and loved ones affected by this shooting.”
“Police violence is gun violence, plain and simple,” said Stephanie Wells, a volunteer with the California chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We join our partners in calling for an independent investigation on this tragic shooting.”
According to the San Diego Tribune, “the shooting comes about about six weeks after the department established a stand-alone de-escalation policy, in hopes of preventing violent encounters between the public and police.” The shooting also comes just days after the guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis Police Officer who killed George Floyd.
This session, California Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers are advocating for SB 2, legislation to increase police accountability through creation of a decertification process when misconduct has occurred.
To reduce police violence and the disproportionate impact it has on Black and Latino communities, it is essential that every law enforcement officer in America works for an agency with evidence-based policies—strong guardrails on when police may use force against civilians, ensuring police are held accountable when force is used, and prioritizing de-escalation, dignity, and respect.
Research suggests that implementing specific use-of-force policies can save lives. One 2016 study of 91 large police departments found adoption of use-of-force reform policies—exhaustion of other means prior to shooting, bans on chokeholds and strangleholds, use-of-force continuum, de-escalation, duty to intervene, restrictions on shootings at moving vehicles, and warning before shooting—was associated with fewer people killed by police.
Black Americans are shot and killed by police at nearly three times the rate of white Americans, and data from Mapping Police Violence shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns.