SACRAMENT (AP) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday rejected an effort to decriminalize jaywalking, despite supporters citing the issue as a social justice reform.
Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting said the crime was arbitrarily carried out, often on people of color – sometimes leading to deadly confrontations with police.
“Unequal enforcement of jaywalking laws and the use of minor offenses like this as an excuse to stop people of color, especially in resourceless communities, is unacceptable and should be discuss, “Newsom agreed with her veto message.
But the governor said the most populous state has the highest number of pedestrian deaths in the country and is at 8th per capita. Moreover, 63% were from pedestrians who ignored traffic controls or safety laws.
Newsom said he will work with lawmakers to find legislation that “addresses unequal enforcement of jaywalking laws in a way that doesn’t dangerously compromise California’s pedestrian safety.”
Ting mentioned some recent cases where what started as jaywalking ended sadly.
Orange County representatives last year fatally shot Kurt Reinhold during the struggle after the 42-year-old Black man was stopped for jaywalking, for example.
“A person should not be killed for jaywalking, for homelessness or having a mental illness,” said John Taylor, one of the family’s attorneys, as they filed a false death claim.
Ting also cited two other recent cases of Black men being confronted by police for jaywalking: Chinedu Okob I died from cardiac arrest in 2018 after a struggle with San Mateo County representatives, while in 2017 Nandi Kain survived a violent police arrest in Sacramento after he challenged an officer to protest.
Cain’s attorney, John Burris, said at the time that his client was guilty largely of “walking while Black.”
Ting cited 2018-2020 data compiled by the California Racial and Identity Profiling Act showing that Black people are up to 4 1/2 times more likely to stop for jaywalking than white people, depending on community.
Low -income neighborhoods and communities of color are more likely to have no sidewalks, have longer distances between crosswalks and are more likely to have non -functioning pedestrian crossing buttons, he said.
A basic ticket is a $ 197 ticket, but the associated fees can bring it into the hundreds of dollars, which Ting said is too much for a small infraction.
Ting’s bill will still require pedestrians to act cautiously, and police may mention someone they see crossing when it is not safe to do so.
But the California State Sheriff’s Association said that standard could be made clearer if the law is violated and thus lead to more diversity in enforcement and more road problems.
“It allows pedestrians to enter roadways in any place or any time where there is no‘ immediate danger ’that will cause confusion and remove the expectations that drivers and pedestrians may have about the safe use of the roadway, ”The sheriffs said.
Law scholars say the ban began in the 1910s and 1920s, when rising pedestrian deaths erupted into a new anti-new vehicle. Even the term jaywalking has been used to embarrass individuals crossing outside a crosswalk – the term “jay” a is the time referred to as a “rube” or “hick.”
Virginia this year became the first state to decriminalize jaywalking.