What is the purpose of enacting a Police Accountability Act? This bill is designed to increase public safety by removing immunity from government for claims of willful misconduct by individual police officers. Can policing change into making all Americans feel safer? This immunity does not apply to claims brought against individual officers under liability insurance. However, the bill’s section establishing criteria for objectively evaluating deadly physical force remains a major concern for municipalities. For more information, read on!
Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill Of Rights Repealed
Support for the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights was heightened last summer, when a national conversation arose about police brutality. In Rhode Island, we had two or three separate incidents of police brutality. Jamal Gonsalves was struck by a police officer while riding a motorcycle downtown. And a young Black man was assaulted by police for staying out late during the pandemic. Those incidents, and others, have prompted a growing movement to have the law repealed.
The law was introduced in Maryland in the early 1970s, and it has been adopted in more than half of the states. Now, with social unrest brewing across the country, some states may look to adopt a similar law to protect police officers. The repeal of the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights could encourage other states to follow suit. In addition to ensuring police officers are more accountable for their actions, the new law will give civilians a say in police disciplinary processes.
Criminal Penalties For Excessive Force
New state laws will make it harder for police officers to use excessive force. The new law limits officers’ use of physical force in a few situations. For instance, police can use force to make an arrest, to prevent someone from fleeing jail, and to protect themselves from an imminent threat to their life or bodily safety. But if an officer uses excessive force, he or she could be barred from getting a job or being rehired.
New California law sets up criminal penalties for officers who use excessive force when they engage in interactions with civilians. Excessive force is defined as using force beyond warranted limits. Police officers will be held accountable under the law, which requires them to complete a certain level of training. It also allows the public to scrutinize police internal affairs files. It also limits when police can obtain “no-knock” warrants and raid homes at night.
Expanding Review Boards For Misconduct Cases
There are many arguments for expanding civilian oversight over police in the past, including the lack of effectiveness and a culture of impunity among police. In addition, these increased civilian oversight powers can face opposition from police unions and local politicians. Yet, in addition to public safety concerns, police misconduct is often a symptom of inadequate resources and traumatizing communities. By adding civilian oversight to the police disciplinary process, a new body of civilian experts could help prevent future tragedies and ensure that law enforcement officers are properly trained.
Although delays in the approval of police reform laws are a major concern, many localities have implemented a civilian review board to ensure accountability for police. One board in San Diego, California, will dissolve its Community Review Board on Police Practices and replace it with the Commission on Police Practices. The new board will have authority to investigate police misconduct cases and subpoena documents and witnesses. In other communities, similar efforts to equip civilian bodies with subpoena powers have been approved.
Minority Representation On Review Boards
While some people might not associate “police accountability” with minorities, it is a critical issue in many states. For example, in the city of Nashville, minority representation on police accountability review boards is crucial to a successful police accountability investigation. Yet the problem is complicated by racial and ethnic makeup. Historically, police accountability review boards have not included enough minorities. This issue was exacerbated by recent legislation that bars the civilian review board from issuing subpoenas and making appointments based on demographics or socioeconomic status.
First and foremost, the police accountability review board should be empowered to investigate complaints without first consulting with the police. While not all police employees are sworn officers, all complaints against police officers should be reviewed by the board, including complaints against non-sworn officers. Moreover, a minority representative should be appointed to the board to ensure that minorities are represented. In addition to having a minority representative on the board, the police department should have a policy that imposes a strict no-tolerance policy for complaints that are filed.