Hundreds testify about sweeping police reforms ahead of vote next week
Hundreds testified Friday about sweeping police reform legislation that Connecticut lawmakers plan to vote on next week.
The 63-page Police Accountability Act would sharply limit when police officers could use deadly force, and institute numerous other changes to how officers do their jobs.
According to the reform proposal, an independent inspector general would probe each case that turns fatal. The proposal also bans chokeholds in most instances - like the one used on George Floyd by a former Minneapolis police officer now charged with murder.
Other items in the police reform bill include:
- Limits on when police officers can search your car.
- All officers would have to wear body cameras.
- Officers would have to undergo mental evaluations every five years.
- If an officer commits racial profiling, they could lose their professional certification and would not be able to work in law enforcement.
The package would also allow people to sue individual police officers, which may prove most controversial. Officers say one frivolous lawsuit could financially ruin them.
Supporters say the reforms are long overdue.
"I never have a choice. The color of my skin alone is a determining factor how my arrest or detainment will go,” says Wendy Tyson-Wood, of Waterbury.
Officer Alexia Castro, of the Naugatuck Police Department, says the bill will “tie the hand of good law enforcement officers.”
“I am one that is not willing to stick around to witness the negative unintended consequences,” she says.
State lawmakers plan to vote on the plan with changes next week.
Watch the Judiciary Committee Listening Session below.