Billie Eilish, Rihanna and many more call for police reform in California in open letter

"The people of California have long understood the need to properly address the actions and accountability of police,” the letter states

Billie Eilish and Rihanna are among the multiple big names from the worlds of music, entertainment and sports to sign an open letter calling for police reform in California.

Addressed to California Governor Gavin Newsom, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Assembly Member Ken Cooley, the letter calls for two bills, SB 731 and SB 776, to be introduced that would increase accountability within the police force in the state.

“While the killing of George Floyd inspired sustained outrage, protests, and reporting, the people of California have long understood the need to properly address the actions and accountability of police,” the letter states.

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“For too long, courts have undermined the intent of the State’s laws, allowing bad police officers to violate the rights of those they are meant to protect. In addition, a lack of transparency and a deficient recordation system has shielded officers who abuse their authority and tarnish the integrity of California’s law enforcement. We can fix this.”

As well as Eilish and Rihanna, the likes of Meek Mill, Megan Thee Stallion, Eddie Vedder, the Jonas Brothers, Anderson .Paak, Big Thief, James Blake, TV On The Radio, Migos, Death Cab For Cutie, Miguel and Kehlani are among the many artists who have also signed the letter.

megan thee stallion aaron j thornton wireimage getty images
Megan Thee Stallion (Picture: Aaron J. Thornton/WireImage)

You can read the letter in its entirety below.

Dear Governor Newsom, Speaker Rendon, Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer, and Assembly Member Cooley,

Occasionally, we are presented with an opportunity to make a genuine difference in the lives of millions. It may have taken the glare of a national spotlight to bring us to the threshold of change regarding abuse and injustice within law enforcement, but the moment is here. On behalf of all of us in the music and entertainment communities, we are asking you to seize that moment by passing Senate Bill 731 and Senate Bill 776.

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While the killing of George Floyd inspired sustained outrage, protests, and reporting, the people of California have long understood the need to properly address the actions and accountability of police. For too long, courts have undermined the intent of the State’s laws, allowing bad police officers to violate the rights of those they are meant to protect. In addition, a lack of transparency and a deficient recordation system has shielded officers who abuse their authority and tarnish the integrity of California’s law enforcement. We can fix this.

SB 776 will establish the transparency and reporting needed to ensure that officers who engage in wrongful activity are removed – and kept – from these valued law enforcement positions. SB 731 will implement an effective system to revoke an officer’s certification based on criminal conviction and certain acts of serious misconduct and will also reinstate the original objective of the Bane Act to properly protect the civil rights of all California citizens.

Fixing the Bane Act will give closure and relief to families like that of 19-year-old Pedro Villanueva, an avid guitar player who was killed by police who fired indiscriminately from an unmarked car into his friend’s truck, in which he was a passenger. Families like that of Steven Schiltz, killed by police for holding a stick near a softball field after arriving to play a game. Families of Frankie Greer (military veteran and successful professional drummer), Luke Smith, Mauricio Barron, and to so many others who have faced – and will face – violations of their civil rights without any recourse.

These bills are meaningful responses to a critical problem and glaring inequity in our law, reflecting the Legislative Black Caucus’s efforts at reform. California is renowned for seizing those opportunities that make a genuine difference and must not abandon its stature here. We implore you to vote “Yes” on SB 731 and SB 776.

Last night (August 19) saw Eilish deliver a remote performance for the Democratic National Convention in which she slammed Donald Trump, saying that “Trump is destroying our country and everything we care about”.

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