State legislators call for change in federal, state, and local policies

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and elected officials of color joined together for a news conference in Boston Tuesday in response to the recent protests and deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others.

In a news release sent to 22News, the news conference served as an opportunity for these legislators to share concrete and actionable steps that can be taken to combat systemic racism, police brutality, and various forms of injustice.

On the federal level, the group wants to pass a resolution condemning policy brutality, racial profiling and excessive use of force. On top of that, they want the Department of Justice to investigate instances of violence by police officers and departments who routinely violate civil rights.

“Again we are laying out legislative, prescriptive, precise solutions to get to healing L and justice and accountability,” said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.

At the state level there have been several bills filed this session that have to do with police training.
State representative Russel Homes wants to establish – peace officer standards and training, a system that would certify officers and take away their certification for misconduct.

Another bill in the works would adopt clear statutory limits on police use of force, including choke holds and other longstanding police tactics.

“We must de-certify officers they should not be able to go play a game and say let me get fired and move on from on police department to another, that’s not hard,” said Representatives Russell Holmes.

At the local level, legislators want to make it easier for officers to report misconduct within the force, a practice that Springfield State Representative Carlos Gonzalez says is already happening within the Springfield Police Department.

The state legislators met at the front steps of the State House at 11 a.m. The following officials from all levels of government, including federal, state, county, and municipal, were present:

  • Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA07)
  • Rep. Carlos González, Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus Chair
  • Various Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus members
  • Rachael Rollins, Suffolk County District Attorney
  • Steven Tompkins, Suffolk County Sheriff
  • Kim Janey, Boston City Council President
  • Boston City Councilors of color
  • Dan Rivera, Mayor of Lawrence

They said they now need everyone’s help passing policies at the state and local levels to prevent racist violence against black Americans.

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