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Morning Brief: Police Accountability, California vs. Texas, And Trouble in Tahiti

Shops in LA's Chinatown have plans, umbrellas, tatami mats, screens and other wares on display on the sidewalk. A yellow tarp is stretched over poles at the store on the left.
Businesses in Chinatown.
(Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 23.

In the wake of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict, an urgent focus is being placed nationwide on reimagining law enforcement. In California, a number of members of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus are pushing for just such reforms.

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Some proposals have been in the works for years, and others are newer, reports Nicole Nixon of Capital Public Radio. But all focus on a rethinking of the role police play in citizens’ lives, and of how they’re held accountable when they break the law or violate the public trust.

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“We have done, as African Americans, all we can do. We will continue to write legislation,” said California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. “It is now up to the rest of America to decide if they want a better America.”

The bills being advanced by members of the state’s Black Caucus include proposals that would:

  • Strip police badges from officers who commit certain crimes or misconduct, and impose new limits on qualified immunity;
  • Require officers to intervene and report other officers’ use of excessive force, and prohibit retaliation;
  • Create pilot programs to allow community-based organizations to respond to 911 calls rather than police;
  • Require new police officers to have a bachelor’s degree or be at least 25 years old;
  • Ban any type of hold or restraint that compresses a person’s airway;
  • Require local governments to make public the amount they spend annually on police misconduct settlements;
  • Bar police from investigating incidents of deadly force in their own departments.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go … This Week’s Outdoor Pick: An Open-Air Opera

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A faux vintage postcard of the production Trouble in Tahiti 2021
The Pacific Opera Project presents an opera outdoors at the Heritage Square Museum.
(Courtesy of Pacific Opera Company)

Pacific Opera Project holds four in-person, COVID-safe performances of Trouble in Tahiti at the Heritage Square Museum in Montecito Heights. The candid portrait of a young couple's troubled marriage features five singers, a simple set and music that critiques post-war American materialism. Attendees are welcome to picnic among the historic homes on the museum grounds.

Or, you could: Bring the family to a Sister Act drive-in. Turn off the lights and get ready for an immersive ghost story. Watch Oscar-nominated short documentaries — in a theater. Bust out the Doc Martens and Flash back to the ‘90s with Cruel Summer activations. And more.

Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

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Little Tokyo was hit hard by the pandemic, and some businesses will be recovering for a while to come. (LAist)

The guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial has proven inspirational around the world. (San Fernando Valley Sun)

A rent relief program aims to help mom-and-pop landlords in South L.A., and keep buildings and space from going to corporate buyers. (Urbanize L.A.)

A basic income proposal was unveiled by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. (LAist)

Unemployment benefits can make tax time confusing, so we put together some pointers to help you navigate it. (LAist)

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Avenue 26 in Lincoln Heights has become one of L.A.’s hottest spots for street food, thanks in part to TikTok. (L.A. Taco)

As a fronterizo — a Mexican immigrant from the border region — LAist contributor Juan Ricardo Gomez has struggled to find a sense of belonging. (LAist)

Barbeque is poppin’ in L.A. right now; here’s your guide to the best of the best. (LAist)

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