BOSTON (WHDH) - The Massachusetts State Senate met Thursday to discuss new certification plans for officers as protesters continue to demand justice and police reform across the Commonwealth.
“George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rashard Brooks, Michael Brown, Philando Castille…” Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz listed some of the tragically familiar names of victims killed by police officers and said she felt a mix of grief and pride in the sweeping bill to institute police reform and fight racism.
“It begins the long necessary work of shifting power back to the community. The power to hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct when it happens,” Chang-Diaz said.
The proposed bill will ban chokeholds, require officers to intervene when they see wrongdoing by other officers, limit use of crowd control tactics, and create an oversight commission led by civilians.
“This office will have ether authority to independently investigate incidents of misconduct,”Chang-Diaz said. “A number of which will lead to mandatory automatic decertification.”
The legislation is a direct response to the weeks of protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Supporters say it represents a new vision of public safety for the Commonwealth.
The House of Representatives is expected to issue their own version of the bill within days.
Lawmakers say their goal is to have a final draft on the governor’s desk by the end of the month.
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