Police reform bill becomes law in Connecticut

On July 31, the governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, signed a new police reform bill and made it…
Ned Lamont and police reform

On July 31, the governor of Connecticut, Ned Lamont, signed a new police reform bill and made it law.

“An Act Concerning Police Accountability” is the bill’s name. The Connecticut State Senate spent hours deliberating before they voted on the bill. With 21 votes in favor and 15 not in favor, the bill passed.

Lamont said that the act will create “real change”:

These reforms are focused on bringing real change to end the systemic discrimination that exists in our criminal justice and policing systems that have impacted minority communities for far too long.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont

Since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, several states have passed new bills for police accountability.

In Colorado, a new law means police officers must wear body cameras. It also banned the use of chokeholds. Then, in Pennsylvania, two new police reform bills passed requiring “officers seeking new positions to reveal previous employment record.” They also order “mental health evaluations of officers and training in use of force.”

Now, Connecticut is seeing the formation of “an independent Office of the Inspector General at the state level.” It will investigate all cases of the use of deadly force and deaths occurring during police custody.

If an officer has used excessive force, the police accreditation body can take away their credentials. The law also bans chokeholds except when in defence against “the use or imminent use of deadly physical force.” Furthermore, if an officer sees another officer using chokeholds or other excessive force, the law requires the first officer’s intervention.

The law’s most controversial part is the change to civil suit immunity. Now, “qualified immunity” does not automatically protect officers from civil suits regarding actions they take while on duty.

Other new rules include officers who are found guilty needing to give legal defense reimbursement to the government, and the banning of military equipment. Also, disciplinary records now fall under the Freedom of Information Act.

Ideally, more states will follow this example, produce their own police reform bills, and sign them into law.

Article source: CNN

Featured image source: Stew Milne

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