OP-ED: Mass. Senate Passes Police Reform Bill, Brownsberger Gives Details

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Wikimedia Commons / Chensiyuan

Massachusetts State House.

Massachusetts State House.

State Sen Will Brownberger provided the following piece:

Early in the morning on July 14, the Senate passed S.2800 — the Reform, Shift and Build Act. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the House of Representatives to finalize soon a joint package to lay before the Governor.

The outline below offers a thematic organization of the bill. Links in the outline lead to relevant resources. We will build these out over time.

  • Reduce the risk of police misconduct (Reform)
    • Narrow legal authorization for use of force
      • Ban chokeholds
      • Eliminate arrest or escape as occasions for use of deadly force
      • Eliminate evidence preservation as predicate for no-knock
      • Restrict use of crowd control tools to cases where people are threatened
        • encourage prospective de-escalation planning
        • require reporting and review
      • Create commission to review use of force rules in corrections
    • Increase police accountability
      • Statewide police certification authority
        • Receives all misconduct complaints
        • Investigates complaints involving serious misconduct
        • Can decertify police officers
        • Maintains disclosure database
        • Commission to consider parallel process for correctional settings
      • Strengthen civil remedies for misconduct
        • Allow Attorney General to bring pattern and practice cases
        • Prohibit NDAs in police misconduct settlement
      • State police reform
        • Allow Governor to select colonel from outside 
        • Create state police cadet program
        • Strengthen colonel’s hand in applying discipline
      • Body camera taskforce
        • Review all aspects of body camera use
        • Impose moratorium on facial recognition use during taskforce
  • Shift from force and punishment to de-escalation and helping? (Shift)
    • Demilitarize the police
      • Require transparency on military equipment acquisitions
      • Require civilian authorization of military equipment acquisitions
    • Expand mental health interventions
      • Expand the work of the Center for Police Training and Crisis Intervention
      • Develop new evidence-based intervention models
      • Prioritize more community-led mental health interventions
    • Limit the school to prison pipeline
      • Make school resource officers optional at choice of superintendent
      • Prohibit school departments from sharing student information with police except for investigation of a crime or to stop imminent harm
    • Reinvest criminal justice resources in impacted communities
      • Compute savings from incarceration reductions
      • Devote half to community reinvestment fund
      • Also credit half of treble damage awards for police overtime fraud
      • Disburse through diverse committee
  • Fight racism (Build)
    • Reduce burden of policing on people of color
      • Ban racial profiling
      • Require racial data collection for all police stops
      • Require reporting, analysis and reflection
    • Introduce police training requirement on history of slavery, lynching, institutionalized racism
    • Create African-American Commission 

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