California Senate approves bill to limit police stops for headlights, expired registration
Sen. Steven Bradford’s SB50 would prohibit police from pulling someone over for a minor infraction related to lighting, registration or license plates alone.
Members of the California Senate narrowly passed a bill Tuesday evening to limit police from pulling over drivers for certain minor safety infractions.
Sen. Steven Bradford’s (D-Gardena)SB50 would prohibit police from pulling someone over for a minor infraction related to lighting, registration or license plates alone.
Bradford said the bill is a priority of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus and is meant to reduce police profiling of people of color.
“In Sacramento, for example,Black people are stopped five times more … for non-moving violations than their white counterparts. Many individuals are then harassed or even assaulted for a simple violation that can be easily fixed and enforced by mail,” he said.
“People are losing their lives unnecessarily just because of these minor infractions,” he said.
GOP lawmakers speaking against the bill noted some traffic stops for minor infractions sometimes lead to arrests for other crimes or warrants.
“A lot of times [police] will find bad people,” said Sen. Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), who is white. “Like in Riverside when they got the notorious serial killer William Suff. He was actually pulled over for a taillight violation and subsequently they figured out who he was and arrested him.”
Bradford also spoke about getting pulled over at night for a headlight that had short circuited and was out.
“At no time did they say they stopped me for weaving, reckless driving or speeding. The next thing, I am asked to leave my car” and given a field sobriety test, Bradford said.
“I have no doubt had I been white, I would not have been asked to leave my car at 1 a.m. in the morning to take a field sobriety test that I easily passed.”
Some Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the bill, which bill passed 22-10, just above the minimum number of votes required. It next heads to the Assembly.
Bradford said he plans to amend the bill to allow police to pull someone over for multiple safety infractions, such as a broken taillight and expired registration.
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