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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Providing Leadership for Police Reform

“Nationally, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 (HR1280) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in February….Among other provisions, the bill works to end racial and religious profiling in law enforcement, bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants at the federal level, limits the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, requires body cameras, calls for more training and allows for more prosecution of officers who violate policies….HR1280 passed the House 220 to 212 on March 3. It has been received in the Senate, but has yet to be debated or voted on….In Wisconsin, State Rep. Jonathan Brostoff, a Milwaukee Democrat, introduced Assembly Bill 186. The legislation calls for an end to “qualified immunity” for police officers. Qualified immunity limits officers liability in civil cases.” — from “George Floyd’s death prompts calls for police reform in America, Wisconsin” by Tom Durian at WTMJ-TV.

“Tennessee lawmakers are considering a new police reform bill that would require law enforcement agencies to create use of force policies. The bill passed the Senate and now moves to the House….Senate Bill 1380 prohibits officers from using a chokehold and issuing no-knock warrants….If the bill is passed agencies must also develop policies on discharging firearms at or from a moving vehicle….A reporting system must also be developed under this proposal.” — from “Tennessee lawmakers consider new police reform bill” by WMC5 -TV.

“In February, Driskell, and the other 26 members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus introduced over 20 police reform bills for consideration in both the House and Senate. But despite being introduced early on in the legislative session, the bulk of these bills have not only failed to pass — most have yet to even get a hearing. Of the approximately 24 bills, 20 of them have yet to appear on the agenda of committee meetings….Some of these FLBC bills have had success. The Senate unanimously passed the Kaia Rolle Act, which would prohibit arresting kids younger than seven, and it’s currently awaiting House approval. The Senate has advanced a separate bill providing mental illness training for law enforcement through two committee meetings. The Senate has also moved forward with a police reform bill filed by Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-Miami), and similar to one introduced by the FLBC, that would limit police use of chokeholds. Both bills are currently are its last committee stops before reaching the floor….Republican House leaders also worked directly with the FLBC on a police training bill that would set statewide use of force policies and instate a database that would track instances of excessive force, if it became law. It’s currently on its last committee stops before the Senate floor….However, more ambitious or sweeping bills introduced by the FLBC have dimmer prospects. Those bills include legislation prohibiting no-knock search warrants for misdemeanor offenses to requiring every law enforcement agency to use body cameras and restricting law enforcement from acquiring surplus military equipment….Of the 27 members of the FLBC, only one is a Republican.” —  from “Black lawmakers in Florida introduced police reform bills this year. Most have gone unheard” by Giulia Heyward at Politico.

“OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Legislature on Tuesday approved a measure requiring police to intervene if they see a fellow officer using, or attempting to use, excessive force….On a 31-18 vote, the Senate concurred with changes the made in the House to the bill, which was prompted by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd and ensuing Black Lives Matter protests last year. The measure now heads to Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature….Under the bill, officers would have to intervene to stop excessive force if they see it being used, or attempted to be used, by another officer and they’re in a position to do so. It would also require police to report wrongdoing by another officer to that officer’s supervisor, including criminal acts or violations of professional standards, and it would forbid retaliation against police who intervene or report wrongdoing….The measure is one of several police reform bills that the Legislature has been moving during this year’s 105-day legislative session, which is scheduled to end Sunday.” — from “Legislature approves duty to intervene police reform bill” by the Associated Press

“Most recently, on April 10th, Maryland’s Democrat-dominated legislature overrode the veto of its Republican governor, Larry Hogan, to pass a police-reform bill. It repeals the state’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights, which afforded officers extra due-process rights for internal-misconduct investigations. Around 20 states have similar laws (Maryland’s was the first), which often require that officers be informed of complaints and complainants before questioning, that they be punished within 100 days of any alleged misconduct, and that departments pay suspended officers’ salary and attorneys’ fees.” — from  “Police-reform legislation is spreading in America” at The Economist.

DENVER (CBS4) – A new police accountability bill at the State Capitol would remove an exemption in the law for Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Rep. Leslie Herod, who led the sweeping police reforms last summer, is sponsoring the bill which, she says, is also aimed at clarifying some of the provisions in the original law….“To ensure that officers interpret the law right and act right in the community….On use of force, her new bill spells out de-escalation techniques officers need to employ first, and it says any use of force must be proportional to the threat of imminent harm….On body cameras, she makes it clear, even though they’re not required until 2023, any department now using them now can’t tamper with, hide, or destroy evidence….A separate police accountability bill is in works by two Democrats and two Republicans in the Senate. Herod met with them Monday in an effort to merge the two bills. She says the new bill could include a provision regarding no-knock raids.” — from “More Police Reform In The Works At Colorado State Capitol” by 4CBS Denver.

“The National Conference of State Legislatures tracked bills in 45 states on officer use of force, including bans on chokeholds and refining when it is appropriate for an officer to use deadly force. Dozens of states have demanded reforms to officer training. A handful limited officer immunity and others limited the use of no-knock warrants….Cities like New York, Seattle, Minneapolis and Atlanta have called to increase accountability, crackdown on racial profiling and are testing the use of mental health crisis responders….”Most policing issues are left to the states to reform or to enact the way they see fit. And that’s the way it should be,” he continued. “When you’re talking about policing reform, there’s only so much the federal government can do to affect local policing.”….Nationally, there is no uniform standard for the 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers serving in the country’s 18,000 police agencies….Minimal training requirements and other standards of practice are set at the state level. Some states require over 1,000 hours of basic training and up to two weeks of annual instruction, according to the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform. Other states require less than half that amount of time in basic training and as little as six hours of mandatory annual training. That leaves leeway for city councils, mayors, police chiefs and police unions to establish the policies, practices and culture of a given department.” — from “States, cities lead on police reform given federal government’s limited reach” by Leandra Bernstein at ABC13 News.

One comment on “Dems Providing Leadership for Police Reform

  1. Martin Lawford on

    “Cities like New York, Seattle, Minneapolis and Atlanta have called to increase accountability, crackdown on racial profiling and are testing the use of mental health crisis responders….”

    Murders are up 44% in New York City, up 49% in Seattle, up 64% in Minneapolis, and up 46% in Atlanta. Increasing police accountability and cracking down on racial profiling are certainly worthwhile, but why are these mayors failing to protect their constituents from being murdered and how do they plan to do better at that?


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