Bridgeport City Council considers policy changes for police force

Some Bridgeport City Council members want to make big changes to the way city police officers operate in the wake of the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Bridgeport police officers are each equipped with body cameras that are supposed to be used every time they interact with the public.  City Council President Aidee Nieves says that’s not always happening.
The council is now considering making body camera use the law – along with other reforms that include banning choke and knee holds, as well as yearly sensitivity and de-escalation training.
It would also include any excessive force settlement to come out of the department's overtime budget.
 
Recently, the City Council agreed to pay $362,000 to residents of a home on Colorado Avenue where 17 officers were accused of multiple violations when they broke up a birthday party three years ago.
"This is a step in the right direction, and you'll see some changes here in Bridgeport,” says Newton.
Brigeport Police Union President Sgt. Brad Seely issued a statement that said in part:
 
According to the union: “Our officers are not trained to do choke holds. We have regular trainings on de-escalation and the use of force if necessary. We already wear body cameras, and they are triggered to start 30 seconds prior to the response."
But council members say, it needs to be the law — not just department policy.
Mayor Joe Ganim says he's behind the City Council’s effort. The council has admitted that it is not sure how much legal authority it has to enforce the new rules if they pass.
The measure will be taken up by the council in two weeks. Before that happens, they will get a consultant's report next week on ways to improve the department.