BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are working on legislation they say will respond to some of the concerns raised by those protesting George Floyd’s killing, including banning the use of chokeholds by police.
A bill introduced this week would include new standards for police conduct, end what the bill’s sponsors call dehumanizing police practices, and add public accountability.
Chokeholds, tear gas and certain other weapons and tactics would be barred under the legislation, as would “no-knock” warrants.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Liz Miranda, of Boston, and state Sen. Cindy Creem, of Newton, both Democrats, would also create a “duty to intervene” when an officer witnesses abuse of force, and it would require data collection and reporting requirements to help prevent the hiring of abusive police officers.
Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo said this week that he supports a chokehold ban and the establishment of an obligation for all law enforcement officers to intervene when a fellow officer improperly or illegally uses force.
DeLeo said he supports the creation of an independent Office of Police Standards and Professional Conduct to ensure minimum statewide policies and procedures for all law enforcement officers.
Senate President Karen Spilka announced this week that she has placed fellow Democratic Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz at the head of an advisory group on racial justice to review policy responses that could be taken up this session.
Floyd, a black man, died last month after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck as he pleaded for air.