California Governor Gavin Newsom signs a bill that decriminalizes jaywalking.
On Friday, Newsom signed many bills, from the rap bill restricting the usage of rap lyrics in criminal cases to decriminalizing jaywalking.
Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced AB2147 which is also known as “The Freedom To Walk Act.” The bill allows pedestrians to cross the street outside of an intersection when it’s safe. It also limits when officers can stop a pedestrian for jaywalking where there’s an immediate danger of a collision.
“It should not be a criminal offense to safely cross the street,” Ting says. “When expensive tickets and unnecessary confrontations with police impact only certain communities. It’s time to reconsider how we use our law enforcement resources and whether our jaywalking laws really do protect pedestrians.”
Ting backed up his statement by pointing out the history of the jaywalking laws. In 1930, the law was put into place due to the rise of automobiles. Ting says the laws are arbitrarily enforced, and tickets are unfairly given to people of color and in low-income communities.
He also mentioned the police encounters from illegal jaywalking have turned deadly citing the 2018 death of Chinedu Okobi. Chinedu died during an encounter with San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputies in Millbrae.
“No longer will law enforcement be able to stop people who are safely crossing the street and burden them with citations and heaps of debt. For too long, our jaywalking laws were used as a pretext to stop and harass people. Especially low-income people and people of color,” Zal Shroff of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights says.
The bill is expected to go into effect on January 1, 2023.