Force of Law

A podcast about California's attempt to reduce police shootings.

After police killed an unarmed black man in his grandparents' backyard, activists set out to change California law, hoping to make it easier to prosecute police who kill. That's sparked a heated debate in the state Capitol between families who have lost loved ones to police and law enforcement officers who face split-second decisions while performing a dangerous job. CALmatters reporter Laurel Rosenhall explores California's attempt to curb police shootings as politicians consider the nation's toughest statewide standard for justifying deadly force. Produced in collaboration with Studiotobe.

Subscribe to this podcast via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts, TuneIn, Overcast, and Stitcher.

Episode One: Cycles

The first episode of Force of Law delves into how California got to this point, looking back at the decade since police shot and killed Oscar Grant in Oakland and the momentum created by last year’s death of Stephon Clark in Sacramento.

Episode Two: Split

Lobbying is under way in Sacramento for two vastly different approaches to reduce police shootings. Victims’ families and civil rights advocates are pushing a tougher standard for police to use deadly force, while law enforcement officers promote a plan to increase training.

Episode Three: The Deciders

For more than a year, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber has been working on a bill meant to curb police shootings by limiting when police can use deadly force. She persevered through political setbacks and failed attempts at compromise before landing on a version that now appears likely to become law.

Episode Four: The Line

The latest episode of Force of Law focuses on the risks officers face on the job and explains why many in law enforcement say the final version of the bill no longer puts them in greater danger.

Episode Five: From Bill to Law

As California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the bill setting a tougher standard for police to use deadly force, the team behind Force Of Law discusses what we’ve learned in reporting this series and what we have in store for the rest of the season.

More CALmatters Pods