BOSTON (WWLP) – The ‘Reform, Shift, and Build’ Act would change the way officers and civilians interact, especially in regard to the use of force.
The bill, if passed as filed, would ban chokeholds, the use of tear gas on protesters, and mandate an additional certification for police officers, which could be taken away for misconduct. This is a move that many lawmakers believe is not only necessary but long overdue.
This bill really at its heart is about making sure that police are being responsive to their community and are working in partnership with the Communities that they serve.
Qualified immunity is one of the areas of the bill that has seen some push back from police unions in the state. If passed, police officers would no longer be protected from civil suits.
In response, Scott Hovsepian president of the Massachusetts Coalition of Police told the statehouse news service that “Police officers acting in good faith should not have to worry that any step they take could end in a lawsuit that takes their home and life-saving.”
The debate on the bill started around noon Thursday and senators are still working through the more than 100 amendments filed.