Michigan took little action on police reform after George Floyd died


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Protesters take to the streets of Detroit after the death of George Floyd.  - STEVE NEAVLING

  • Steve Neavling
  • Protesters take to the streets of Detroit after the death of George Floyd.

In the months following George Floyd’s death, Michigan lawmakers and other top elected officials promised significant police reforms.

The proposals ranged from banning strangles and interdiction warrants to calling for de-escalation and anti-bias training.

Almost a year has passed and on Tuesday Minneapolis Constable Derek Chauvin was convicted of unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter after digging his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

But lawmakers have not enacted a single bill to reform the police, making Michigan one of the few states that did not pass legislation against police brutality after Floyd’s death.

Now Democrats, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, are renewing their efforts to improve police accountability and tackle racial bias in policing. The only problem: Republicans who control State House and the Senate are not advancing legislation.

“Following this verdict, I am focusing even more on passing laws to improve policing with: citizen surveillance, demilitarization, better training, independent malpractice investigations and law that revokes the certification of officers who mistreat citizens, ”Senator Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, who pledged in June to“ change the culture of the police, ”tweeted Tuesday.

Irwin sponsored a bill that would require new officers to train in implicit bias, de-escalation techniques, and mental health screening. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate but remained stuck in the House.

Michigan Senate Democrats also introduced a package of police reform bills on October 1 that would strengthen law enforcement and social worker relations, create more opportunities to take down bad cops. , protect people who file complaints against the police and make it a crime. dial 911 with false racist allegations. The legislation is at a standstill.

In June, Whitmer unveiled a broad plan for police reform, ranging from proposing to ban strangulations to requiring independent inquiries into police deaths. The measure would also limit no-strike warrants and force officers to intervene when they observe colleagues using excessive force. Even though the plan was approved by Michigan State Police and the Detroit Police Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, it was also blocked.

“After the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Governor Whitmer immediately set to work with key community leaders and law enforcement officials in our state to improve policing in a way that creates a system. fairer and more equitable law enforcement, ”Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy Recounted Metro timetable in a report. “As our country renews its calls for changes in policing practices, Governor Whitmer hopes the legislature will work with her to reach agreement on common sense reforms that will build a better system of trust and accountability. ”

To keep track of bad cops, Attorney General Dana Nessel has proposed creating a statewide publicly accessible database of agents who have been at fault. The registry is part of a seven-point plan designed to hold police more accountable and increase transparency so problem cops cannot move from city to city with impunity.

Under the plan, the Michigan Law Enforcement Standards Commission would have the power to strip officers of their misconduct licenses, officers who commit misconduct crimes in the line of duty would lose. their retirement benefits, law enforcement agencies would be required to report the use of – force data and maintain disciplinary records for each officer, and police would be mandated to undergo training on de-escalation and implicit bias .

The legislature did not act on the proposals.

“It is up to the leaders of our communities, our state and our nation to effect change,” Nessel said in a statement. “The murder of Mr. Floyd by a man wearing the uniform of those who have sworn to serve and protect cannot be passed as another unfortunate moment in our country’s history. We cannot simply be satisfied with a guilty verdict. It must be a catalyst for change. ”

Lavora Barnes, president of the Michigan Democratic Party, called on Republicans to act.

“Our black and brown sisters and brothers are still not safe in America,” Barnes said. “We need real law enforcement reform before real justice, not just accountability, is done.”

Republican State House and Senate leaders did not return Metro timetable‘calls for a comment.

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