Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma pushes for police reform
Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma drives to the basket against Denver Nuggets’ Jamal Murray on Aug. 10 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Ashley Landis / Associated Press)
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma has wasted little time in becoming more politically active, first tweeting before talking with the media Monday about a bill he wants to see passed regarding police reform.
Kuzma wants to see Senate Bill 731 pass in the state of California. It would require all police officers in California to be certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, and it could rescind the certification for any violations of law. The bills, if passed, looks to decertify police officers who are fired for misconduct or those who resign before a misconduct investigation.
“While we’re demanding change, right now in CA Dems are REFUSING to pass modest police reform that would keep abusive officers out of the state and end qualified immunity!” Kuzma tweeted Monday morning. “@AssemblyDems are you going to make real change or just pretend like you hear us?!? #PassSB731.”
While we’re demanding change, right now in CA Dems are REFUSING to pass modest police reform that would keep abusive officers out of the state and end qualified immunity! @AssemblyDems are you going to make real change or just pretend like you hear us?!? #PassSB731
— kuz (@kylekuzma) August 31, 2020
Kim Kardashian West is another celebrity hoping the bill gets passed, which prompted Kuzma to retweet her thoughts as well as issue his own tweet.
Police can break the law and have not be held accountable for it. #SB731 prohibits this! As a resident of California I say we need this passed for moderate police reform!
— kuz (@kylekuzma) August 31, 2020
“It basically prohibits police from having the ability from breaking the law and not getting into trouble,” Kuzma said during his video conference with reporters after practice. “Obviously, it’s hard to get passed right now, but we’re just trying to push it through and make real change. That’s one thing just to continue being an activist on, commenting on racism, but we got to get these bills passed. That’s the most important thing.”
Kuzma was asked what kind of dialogue the players have in the bubble with some of the security people working for the NBA that are current or former police officers.
Kuzma said those officers working for the NBA are part of their “brotherhood.”
“They kind of stand for their own, a lot,” Kuzma said. “But the talks I’ve had with good policemen … it’s about the training aspect. That’s the biggest thing. They only have budgets from that standpoint to have the proper training and knowledge. You have cops that work in, let’s say a cop works in Los Angeles, works in Compton, but lives in Santa Clarita. He doesn’t know the area. He doesn’t know the people or the background.
Security guards for NBA teams and players are often current or former police officers. Given the players’ focus on police brutality right now, I asked Kyle Kuzma if he ever talks to those guys about these issues. Here’s what he said: pic.twitter.com/s3747Nf55r
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) August 31, 2020
“So, the biggest thing is not just defunding police, but actually giving them the proper resources and training to better themselves. For instance, [his hometown] Flint, Mich. Everyone wants to talk about defunding the police, but for a place like there, they actually need to hire more police. It’s a city of 100,000 people, and we have like 95 cops. So, one cop has to service 10,000 people. That doesn’t make sense.”
Kuzma said the conversations with police in the bubble have been productive.
“It’s not like me telling them, ‘Cops are bad. What are you guys doing?’” Kuzma said. “It’s about having that honest dialogue to really figure out what they see from their perspective. Everybody wants to bash police, but you got to look at their lens too sometimes and figure out why things are happening.”
Turner reported from Los Angeles.