The Massachusetts chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement applauding the Massachusetts House of Representatives for passing HB 4860, legislation that would establish a statewide oversight committee with the power to independently investigate officer misconduct and revoke officer certification when necessary. The Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee passed a similar bill.
“This legislation is a major step in the right direction,” said Rina Schneur, a volunteer with the Massachusetts chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re grateful to see lawmakers take action on police violence in our state, which is inextricably linked to systemic racism in this country. We urge our elected officials to prioritize police reform legislation, following the leadership of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, because it will save lives.”
The police reform bill also includes a series of other reforms, including establishing clear standards for the use of force by law enforcement to ensure that force is used only when absolutely necessary, banning the use of chokeholds and other neck restraints, identifying and working to eliminate systemic racism across the criminal justice system, and ensuring that records relating to investigations of police misconduct are accessible to the public.
Black and brown Americans are far more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts. Data from The Guardian shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns. According to data from Mapping Police Violence, Black Americans are nearly three times more likely than their white peers to be shot and killed by police.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.