pulling someone over for a minor infraction related to lighting, registration or license plates alone.

Bradford said the bill is a priority of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus and is meant to reduce police profiling of people of color.

“In Sacramento, for example,Black people are stopped five times more … for non-moving violations than their white counterparts. Many individuals are then harassed or even assaulted for a simple violation that can be easily fixed and enforced by mail,” he said.

Bradford, who is Black, pointed to cases of other Black people includingSandra Bland,Philando Castile andTyre Nichols, who died after coming in contact with police after minor traffic stops.

“People are losing their lives unnecessarily just because of these minor infractions,” he said.

GOP lawmakers speaking against the bill noted some traffic stops for minor infractions sometimes lead to arrests for other crimes or warrants.

“A lot of times [police] will find bad people,” said Sen. Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta), who is white. “Like in Riverside when they got the notorious serial killer William Suff. He was actually pulled over for a taillight violation and subsequently they figured out who he was and arrested him.”

Bradford also spoke about getting pulled over at night for a headlight that had short circuited and was out.

“At no time did they say they stopped me for weaving, reckless driving or speeding. The next thing, I am asked to leave my car” and given a field sobriety test, Bradford said.

“I have no doubt had I been white, I would not have been asked to leave my car at 1 a.m. in the morning to take a field sobriety test that I easily passed.”

Some Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the bill, which bill passed 22-10, just above the minimum number of votes required. It next heads to the Assembly.

Bradford said he plans to amend the bill to allow police to pull someone over for multiple safety infractions, such as a broken taillight and expired registration.

State News

  • SoCo Calendar
  • Right Now
  • Weather
  • Earthquakes
  • First News
thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Read More

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.