Every year, law enforcement agencies search tens of thousands of people in California without any warrant, probable cause, nor even any reason to suspect a crime. These baseless “consent searches” occur when police stop someone to ask if the person will submit to a search of their person, belongings, or car when they have no evidence of a public safety threat.
Officers have full discretion to choose when and from whom to seek such searches, so these invasive and traumatizing fishing expeditions are significantly influenced by officers’ biases. And research makes it clear such searches are a waste of public resources that only harms public safety and increases the danger of police violence during stops. Reining in baseless police searches will create safer communities for all.
Consent searches motivate police to racially profile and put people of color at the risk of police violence. Black people are 4 times as likely, Latine people 2.4 times as likely, and multiracial people 2.2 times as likely to be asked for consent to search during a traffic stop than white people. Searches makes stops of Black and Latine people and youth longer, more invasive, more traumatic, and more potentially dangerous. They make it so that a stop for something like tinted windows or biking on the wrong side of the road turns into something much more intrusive, traumatic, and even potentially life-threatening than a mere stop for a ticket.
Assembly Bill 93 will help curb racially biased policing and protect people from unnecessary interactions with police by prohibiting consent searches that are based solely on a person’s purported consent. With AB 93, police will not be able to pursue consent searches without justifiable cause or evidence.
Primary Bill Author: Assemblymember Isaac Bryan (D-Los Angeles)
- ACLU California Action
- Anti Police-Terror Project
- Black Lives Matter California
- Cal Bike
- Community Coalition
- AB 93 Fact Sheet
- Report: 2023 Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board – California Department of Justice
- Article: LAPD searches blacks and Latinos more. But they’re less likely to have contraband than whites (LA Times)
- Article: Racial disparities in SF traffic searches raise concerns of bias (SF Chronicle)