AB 953: The Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015

Citizen Complaints Alleging Racial and Identity Profiling

Since 1981, the California Department of Justice has collected data from law enforcement agencies on citizen complaints against peace officers, including the number of complaints received, the number alleging either felony or misdemeanor criminal conduct, and the number sustained in each category. AB 953 expanded the type of complaints that agencies are required to report to the Department of Justice, as well as the specific data to be reported for complaints.

Specifically, beginning January 2016, in addition to reporting on citizen complaints received by law enforcement agencies under Penal Code section 832.5 and citizen complaints alleging felony or misdemeanor criminal conduct, AB 953 requires California law enforcement agencies to begin collecting and reporting data on complaints that allege racial or identity profiling. AB 953 also expanded the definition of racial and identity profiling, to clarify that it is “the consideration of, or reliance on, to any degree, actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or mental or physical disability in deciding which persons to subject to a stop or in deciding upon the scope or substance of law enforcement activities following a stop, except that an officer may consider or rely on characteristics listed in a specific suspect description.” The entirety of the new definition can be found in Penal Code section 13519.4, subdivision. (e).

AB 953 also requires that, with respect to citizen complaints that allege racial or identity profiling, law enforcement agencies collect and report the specific type(s) of profiling alleged, in other words, whether the alleged profiling is based on, to any degree, actual or perceived race (including color), ethnicity, nation origin, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or mental or physical disability. (Penal Code, § 13012, subd. (5)(A).)

With respect to all citizen complaints reported, in addition to providing the total number of complaints reported, law enforcement agencies must also report the status and/or resolution of the complaint: sustained, exonerated, not sustained, unfounded, or pending. The Department of Justice will receive the first updated reports from law enforcement agencies beginning in January 2017, and will include this data in its annual report on crime, which is published every July. These reports will be available to the public, and will be disaggregated for each individual law enforcement agency.

The California Department of Justice has made a new form available to law enforcement agencies for capturing and reporting this expanded set of complaints submitted by civilians. The information bulletin, pdf and the new reporting form, pdf are available on the California Department of Justice website.

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Stop Data Collection Requirements and Final Regulations

In addition to requiring the collection and reporting of data regarding citizen complaints that allege racial or identity profiling, AB 953 requires all city and county local law enforcement agencies in California, as well as the California Highway Patrol and peace officers of California state and university educational institutions, to collect perceived demographic and other detailed data regarding pedestrian and traffic stops. Probation officers and officers in a custodial setting are excluded from this collection requirement.

The data to be collected includes, among other things, the perceived race or ethnicity, gender, and approximate age of the person stopped, as well as other data such as the reason for the stop, whether a search was conducted, and the results of any such search. Law enforcement agencies subject to this reporting requirement must report this data to the California Attorney General’s Office every year, with specific reporting deadlines set forth in the statute. (Gov. Code, § 12525.5, subd. (a) –(g).)

After extensive consultation with stakeholders, as discussed in detail on the Stop Data Regulations page, the final regulations and entire rulemaking action were filed with the Secretary of State on November 7, 2017, and the regulations are effective as of November 7, 2017. The final regulations and supporting documents can be viewed by visiting the Stop Data Regulations page.

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The Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board (RIPA Board or Board)

AB 953 mandates the creation of the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) Board, for the purpose of eliminating racial and identity profiling and improving diversity and racial and identity sensitivity in law enforcement.

The Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory (RIPA) Board is responsible for advising the Attorney General’s Office on the drafting of the stop data regulations and for annually reviewing and analyzing the stop data submitted by law enforcement agencies. On an annual basis, the Board will work in partnership with state and local law enforcement agencies to review and analyze racial and identity profiling policies and practices across geographic areas in California; conduct and consult available evidence-based research on intentional and implicit bias and law enforcement stop, search, and seizure tactics; review and analyze stop data and citizen complaint data required by AB 953; and consult with the Commission on Peace Officer Standards Training regarding racial and identity profiling training required by AB 953. Beginning on January 1, 2018, the RIPA Board must produce an annual report that includes the Board’s analyses, including detailed findings on the past and current status of racial and identity profiling, and its policy recommendations for eliminating this unlawful practice.

More information about the composition and work of the RIPA Board, including information on RIPA Board meetings, can be found by visiting the Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board.

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