How a Black lawmaker from L.A. won a ‘mammoth fight’ to oust bad cops

October 01, 2021

SACRAMENTO — In 2019, Fouzia Almarou was speaking at a police reform rally at Rowley Park in Gardena when a man she didn’t know made her a promise she didn’t quite trust.

Gardena police had shot Almarou’s son, Kenneth Ross Jr., at the park a year earlier, and she was marking the one-year “angel-versary” of his death.

State Sen. Steven Bradford, who grew up in the neighborhood as part of the first Black family on his block, told the mourning mom that he was going to change California law in the name of her lost son. He would make sure that officers with questionable pasts couldn’t jump from one job to the next to avoid accountability.

“At first I didn’t know,” Almarou said Tuesday on her feelings about a vow from a politician she hadn’t met until that day.

On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the Kenneth Ross Jr. Decertification Act of 2021 at the gym inside Rowley Park, after what Bradford describes as a two-year “mammoth fight” to push it through the Legislature. The measure provides a pathway for revoking the licenses of law enforcement officers who commit serious misconduct, even if it does not rise to the level of criminal charges — preventing them from taking another badge-carrying job.

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