The police are losing a long-abused method of harassment. California now has a law making it illegal for the police to stop people for simply walking across the street. This was a cop-favorite way to grossly harass people in black communities across the state, where there seem to be fewer crosswalks for some strange reason.
Jaywalking is no longer a crime.
Proponents say the law is a win in decriminalizing jaywalking, for which tickets are disproportionately given to low-income individuals or minorities who typically cannot afford to pay the tickets.
"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," said Zal Shroff, senior staff attorney at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. "For too long, our jaywalking laws were used as a pretext to stop and harass people, especially low-income people and people of color. The reforms enacted in AB 2147 will put an end to that and, in doing so, make all of California safer for pedestrians."
Supporters say lower-income communities typically do not have the funding or infrastructure to provide safe crosswalks, while the new law could also prevent a jaywalking arrest from turning serious or fatal, citing incidents in San Clemente, the Bay Area and Sacramento over the past few years.
It isn't just California, but this law is a start.