A bill to ban police dogs has passed the California Assembly's public safety committee, with legislators citing "racial bias and violence against black Americans and people of color" as the reason for the bill, Fox News reported Tuesday.
Assembly Bill 742 bans "the use of police dogs for arrests, apprehensions, and crowd control," which the bill's coauthor, Democratic assemblyman Corey Jackson, called "a deeply racialized and harmful practice."
The bill rips into K-9 units as part of "this country's dehumanizing, cruel, and violent abuse of black Americans," specifically claiming the dogs were "first used by slave catchers."
Using dogs in police work, however, only spread to the United States in the early 20th century, according to a study on the history of police K-9 corps. In other parts of the world, the use of dogs for policing dates back as far as 1,000 B.C.
Assembly Bill 742 also makes a point of criticizing police for attempting to quell Black Lives Matter protests.
The ACLU's California chapter cosponsored the bill, Fox reported, with the chapter's executive director pointing to "bite victims, especially [in] communities of color."
The bill would not ban "the use of police dogs for search and rescue, explosives detection, and narcotics searches."
If the bill becomes law, California will be "the first state to adopt this type of restriction on police dog use," according to Fox.