- California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill preventing police from sharing mugshots on social media of individuals accused of non-violent crimes.
- The bill’s sponsor said he hoped the legislation helps to tackle “unconscious bias,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Under the law, police can still share photos of individuals they believe are dangerous who those who are accused of violent crimes.
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California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed into law a bill that bans police from sharing on social media the mugshots of individuals charged with non-violent offenses.
Assembly Member Evan Low, a Democrat representing San Jose, sponsored the bill, known as AB 1475, and told the San Francisco Chronicle that he authored the legislation to reduce “unconscious bias” and “the assumption of guilt that” is created when police post booking photos online.
Sometimes, he noted, police will share photos mocking those accused of crimes.
The bill passed with bipartisan support, and there was no organized campaign against the legislation, the Chronicle reported. The law also passed with the support of San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, Low said, according to The Chronicle.
“In recent years, many departments have used their social media accounts to shame suspects arrested by officers, posting mug shots, names and alleged crimes,” Low wrote in a letter to Newsom that urged him to sign the bill, according to the Chronicle.
“The publication of these mugshots does little to serve a legitimate public safety interest as suspects are already in custody,” he added.
The new law still allows law enforcement to post the mugshots of criminals accused of violent crimes, fugitives, or individuals that police believe pose an immediate threat to the public.
The law also creates a way for people who have been accused of non-violent crimes to have their photos removed from social media pages of police departments that already shared them on social media, according to the legislation. Those accused of violent crimes can also request their mugshot be removed should they meet criteria set forth in the legislation.