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California bill would ban police dogs from arrests and crowd control, citing racial bias, trauma

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The California Assembly’s Public Safety Committee has approved a bill that would ban the use of police canines for arrests, apprehensions and crowd control, apparently a first-in-the-country measure. The authors of the bill cited the need for the removal of K-9s due to racial bias and violence against Black Americans and people of color.

Assembly Bill 742 seeks to ban the use of police canines for arrest, apprehension or any form of crowd control. 

The legislation would not prevent the use of police canines for search and rescue, explosives detection and narcotics searches.

A police K-9 from Los Angeles County

A police K-9 from Los Angeles County (Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

The bill, introduced by Assemblymen Corey Jackson, D-Perris, and Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, is designed to “end a deeply racialized traumatic and harmful practice by prohibiting the use of police canines,” Jackson said in a statement.

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“The use of police canines has been a mainstay in this country’s dehumanizing, cruel, and violent abuse of Black Americans and people of color for centuries.” AB 742 states. “First used by slave catchers, police canines are a violent carry-over from America’s dark past. In recent decades, they have been used in brutal attempts to quell the Civil Rights Movement, the LA Race Riots, and in response to Black Lives Matter protests.”

ACLU California Action, a statewide advocacy organization of the American Civil Liberties Union, co-sponsored the bill.

“The use of police canines has severe and potentially deadly consequences for bite victims, especially communities of color,” said Carlos Marquez III, executive director of ACLU California Action. “This bill sets a new standard for California and marks an important step in ending this inhumane practice.”

Brea K-9 officer Matt Wendling prepares to give his Belgian Malinois Kylo a command during a K-9 demonstration at the National Night Out in Brea Aug. 2, 2022.

Brea K-9 officer Matt Wendling prepares to give his Belgian Malinois Kylo a command during a K-9 demonstration at the National Night Out in Brea Aug. 2, 2022. (Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

The California and Hawaii chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (CA/HI NAACP) also co-authored the bill and highlighted the historical significance of the legislation, if passed.

“Police canines have roots in slavery and have been used as tools of oppression for Black, Brown and other communities of color,” said Rick L. Callender, president of the CA/HI NAACP. “With this bill, we sever ties with the terrorizing past and move towards a brighter future.”

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LAPD Gang and Narcotics Division K-9 handler Det. Patrick Foreman rubs bloodhound Piper's ears.  

LAPD Gang and Narcotics Division K-9 handler Det. Patrick Foreman rubs bloodhound Piper’s ears.   (Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

AB 742 notes that canine bites resulted in hospital visits 67.5% of the time while other uses of force, like batons and tasers, resulted in hospital visits 22% of the time or less.

Jackson and Kalra argue that injuries related to K-9s disproportionally affect Black people more than other racial groups in America.

“Black people are more than two times more likely than any other group to be subjected to this use of force,” according to AB 742.

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AB 742 now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee before consideration on the Assembly floor. If it passes the Assembly and state Senate and is signed by Gov. Newsom, California would apparently be the first state to adopt this type of restriction on police dog use.

Neither Jackson nor Kalra responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment by time of publication.

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