Dean Johansson Supports the Just Announced 'Use of Force' Legislation to Curb Killings of Civilians by Law Enforcement
(Press release) Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Dean Johansson, a candidate for Yolo County District Attorney, Tuesday was among the first candidates for public office in the region to support state legislation introduced today to restrict when law enforcement officers could shoot suspects.
The measure would modify the standard officers use to fire their weapons to "necessary force" from the current "reasonable force," which has led to 162 killings by California peace officers in 2017 – more than half of those killed were unarmed.
"It is urgent that we change our state laws to bring greater transparency and accountability to law enforcement. It's the right thing to do and we owe it to the families of Stephon Clark, Michael Barrera, Luis Gutierrez and so many others to enact these long overdue reforms," said Mr. Johansson, who has been both a public defender and district attorney.
Stephon Clark, killed in a hail of Sacramento City Police bullets two weeks ago as he attempted to enter his grandparents home where he lived, is only the latest of victim of police killings. Clark, who was shot six times in the back, was not armed and only carried a cell phone.
Mr. Johansson's run hopes to continue a recent national trend where reformer district attorneys are winning seats against hard-line DAs – civil rights attorney Larry Krasner won Philadelphia DA job last November promising major reforms. Mr. Johansson said he is patterning his campaign after Krasner's.
Mr. Johansson is a former district attorney in Sacramento and Tulare counties, and has been a public defender in Yolo County (for the past 10 years) and the San Francisco Public Defender's Office. He was a private practice lawyer for 10 years, focusing on civil rights law. Johansson is a graduate of UC Berkeley and McGeorge School of Law, and an adjunct professor at the UC Davis School of Law.