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New Law Requires California Police to Tell Drivers Why They’re Stopped

"Do you know why I pulled you over?" is a thing of the past in Calfornia. Before questioning drivers, California police will soon be required to tell drivers why they've stopped them. The new bill, which takes effect Jan. 1, also mandates that all police agencies monitor officers who stop drivers to ensure that they are complying with the law, Governing reports.

It's believed that changing what police are required to tell drivers could also lead to fewer of what are known as pretextual stops, which is a police practice of stopping drivers purportedly for minor traffic violations with the intent of searching the driver's car for contraband such as drugs or firearms. A 2020 internal review found that, when compared with White drivers, LAPD officers stopped Black and Latino drivers much more often and subjected them to more intense searches of their vehicles. Though the pretextual stops were defended as a way to suppress violent crime, the review showed that officers found more drugs and guns when they had a reasonable suspicion they might find contraband by stopping a vehicle versus. As a result, since last year, the LAPD has already been encouraging officers to tell drivers why they were stopping them while recording that interaction on their body-worn cameras.


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