Police unions have been donating to some Democratic lawmakers who could play a role in forcing further changes — news that prompted a sharp tweet from Sen. Bradford accusing opponents of trying to “kill solid policy.”
“If you can’t win on the merit of your argument, you resort to paying off legislators?? SHAMEFUL, BUT NOT SURPRISING!!,” he tweeted.
Advocates said they’re concerned powerful police associations will further weaken the bill.
“They’re trying to duck accountability time and time again,” said Sheila Bates, a member of the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles policy team and part of the coalition co-sponsoring the bill. “Had (Gardena Police Officer) Michael Robbins been held accountable the first, second or third time when he shot somebody, then Kenneth Ross Jr. might still be alive.”
Records from the shooting investigation show that as Officer Robbins got near the scene he saw other officers arriving and Ross, who matched the suspect’s description, running away. Robbins parked, grabbed his assault rifle and shouted for Ross to stop.
“You’re going to get shot,” Robbins yelled.
Video from his body-worn camera shows what happened next.
Standing behind the engine block of his squad car for cover, the barrel of Robbins’ rifle tracks Ross’ movement. Just after Ross crosses in front of Robbins’ position, maybe 100 feet away, the officer gives the trigger two quick taps. (“I gave him ... a double tap that was just amazing, training just kicked in,” he told investigators later.) Ross falls to the ground dead.
It was the fourth time Robbins shot at someone in his nearly 30-year career, although his first shooting since the early 2000s, he later said.
The Gardena Police Department, which is currently facing a lawsuit over the shooting, declined an interview request. Attorneys representing the officer also did not comment for this story.
As for Robbins, the pending decertification bill likely wouldn’t affect him. He retired from the Gardena Police Department in July 2020 with the rank of sergeant, records show. But if future officers are kicked out of the profession, it will be because of a bill named after the man he killed.