Lawmakers scale back police use of force bill

Posted: Updated:
HARTFORD -

State lawmakers scaled back a controversial bill Monday that would crack down on police use of force.

Lawmakers say the bill was spurred forward by a police-involved shooting last month in Bridgeport that left a 15-year-old suspect dead. Jayson Negron allegedly tried to back a car into an officer when police opened fire. The case is still under investigation.

In response, minority lawmakers began pushing a bill that would have required an officer accused of excessive force to be placed on unpaid leave.

The new version rakes out some of the more controversial plans but would instead ban officers from firing guns at moving vehicles to try and stop them. It would also limit when police could open fire on drivers.

"If the person driving the vehicle poses an imminent threat or serious injury or death directed at the police officer or another person, in that instance, they would be allowed to shoot at the driver to disable the vehicle," says state Rep. Robyn Porter (D-Hamden).

The new bill would also require an outside prosecutor to investigate police-involved shootings and issue limited reports within 40 days.

Police chiefs who oppose the measures say they would put officers' lives in danger.

"I think that we all need to work cautiously through some legislation that could have significant changes in the way police officers approach their job," says Chief Gary McNamara, of the Fairfield Police Department.

State leaders say that as it stands, the bill is about 10 to 15 votes shy of passing. The current legislative session ends Wednesday night.

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