PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TO THE CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY TO SUPPORT AB 2298 Bill TO HELP LIMIT GANG DATABASES AND CRIMINALIZATION OF PEOPLE OF COLOR IN C.A.!
Speaker, California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 219, Sacramento, CA 95814
Re: Support for Assembly Bill 2298 – Weber – Gang Databases – Accuracy, Consistency and Transparency
Dear Assemblymember Rendon:
Name Your Organization is honored to be a supporter of Assembly Bill 2298, which will require local law enforcement departments to notify people when they are added to a shared gang database, including the statewide CalGang Database; enable people to inquire as to their status on a database, to challenge their designation if they are no longer involved or have never belonged to a gang, to have a clear process for removal, and to be notified if they are removed. The bill also requires the State Department of Justice to report on an annual basis how many people are added and removed from gang databases by age, race, gender and geography.
In the early 1980s, Los Angeles and quickly the whole state engaged in an aggressive “war on gangs,” including the creation of gang databases. Since then – for nearly 40 years – gang databases have operated without accuracy, consistency or transparency. Information for local databases is primarily collected through routine police stops – on the street, in schools and traffic stops. Police gather information through a field interview, and local departments then feed this information into shared databases and also into the statewide CalGang Database. Most people are added to local databases and the CalGang Database without having been arrested or accused of a crime. Until the recent passing of Senate Bill 458, no person labeled as a gang member had a legal right to be notified or an opportunity to appeal their designation. Now under SB458, only youth under the age of 18 have those rights.
Nearly 20% of the people on the CalGang Database are African- American and 66% are Latino. Since only 6.6% of Californians are African-Americans, and just 38.1% are Latino, this represents an alarming racial disparity. Databases are often used to add people to gang injunctions, contribute to arguments by Prosecutors for gang enhancements in court, and are used to deny people access to victims’ compensation when a person is killed or injured. An individual’s information can also be shared and accessed by federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI and ICE, having huge implications for a person’s ability to realize immigration opportunities including deferred action and prosecutorial discretion.
To Increase Accuracy – AB 2298 will:
1. Create a process for the removal from gang databases of individuals not currently active in a gang.
To Establish Consistency – AB 2298 will:
2. Require law enforcement agencies across the state to create processes for implementation of SB 458 and AB 2298.
To Promote Transparency – AB 2298 will:
3. Provide notice to individuals before they are documented as “gang members” and allow individuals to inquire about their inclusion in gang databases.
4. Require the annual release of data on the numbers and demographics of people added to or removed from gang databases.
WRITE A PARAGRAPH ABOUT YOUR GROUP OR ORGANIZATION AND WHY YOU CARE ABOUT THIS ISSUE.
For all these reasons, we urge you to support AB 2298.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
E-MAIL US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE BY RESPONDING TO THIS MESSAGE OR AT firstname.lastname@example.org.
VISIT AND/OR CALL STATE ASSEMBLYMEMBERS, AND URGE THEM TO VOTE YES ON AB 2298 WHEN IT COMES TO THE FULL FLOOR.
JOIN THE COALITION CALLS TWICE A MONTH TO PASS THE BILL:
AB 2298 COALITION CALLS ARE biweekly, THURSDAYS AT 10AM, May 26, June 9, June 23, Break for legislative recess in July unless needed, August 4, August 18, September 1, September 15, September 29, October 13.