Delaware is the state with the broadest privacy protection for police officers accused of illegal activity, said Senator Tizzie Rockman, a Democrat in Wilmington.
Senate Bill 149 changes that and makes police records more public.
“The bill ensures that prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers have access to records of law enforcement law enforcement, and, as a second factor, law enforcement agencies collect statistics and report on discipline trends. Make it available for publication. [enable] Local governments want to establish private surveillance, “Rockman said.
Approximately three months after the legislative meeting ended without an arrangement to change the Delaware Law Enforcement Bill of Rights (LEOBOR), reform advocates set up a series of meetings in hopes of making LEOBOR more transparent. Did.
SB 149 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this spring, but Rockman withdrew from full discussion on the floor for fear of being defeated by the amendment or being washed away. When lawmakers resume their work in Dover in January, it will be waiting for action on the Senate floor.
Earlier this month, Rockman held the first of several stakeholder meetings with lawmakers, police leaders, and others to reveal their differences.
The LEOBOR change was a major part of the black executive agenda of the General Assembly for several years, pursued with new vitality after George Floyd’s death by Minneapolis police.
“This is really about regaining trust between law enforcement and our community,” Rockman said. “It can take years to build that trust, but it takes a few seconds to break.”
That trust is certainly broken for Lakeisha Nix. Her brother Lymond Moses was killed by New Castle County police in January. She said powers seemed to “don’t care about us” after lawmakers failed to pass the LEOBOR reforms in June. She called for protests in support of the bill.
She said lawmakers have “little by little” and “deceived” reforms since Floyd’s death. “No bold [legislation] There are weak bills, such as SB 149, that make murder police officers comfortable with their vicious acts, “she said. “I feel like I don’t have to wait anymore.”
It is not clear how or if the final bill will change after this series of stakeholder meetings, but who will decide when the officer’s accusations of misconduct will be made public. There was a discussion between the groups.
“Our opinion is that serious and proven crimes should be publicly disclosed,” said Deputy Attorney General Alex McCuller.
Serious crimes include abuse, abuse of force, and even dishonesty, he said. “Frankly, I think law enforcement officers agree that dishonesty is a serious crime. It puts you on the brady list. It’s really hard for us to prosecute their proceedings. So it’s serious, “he said.
A “brady list” is a requirement for a prosecutor to notify a defendant and his attorney if the law enforcement officer in their case has a persistent record of intentionally being in a public position. Point to.
Public Defender Assistant Misty Seemans questioned the idea that only “proven” illegal activity would be published.
“If only the police decide if the claim is substantiated, is it the fox guarding the poultry house, as you’ve heard the phrase many times?” She asked. “If you have multiple unfounded complaints against the same officer of the same nature, but there is no basis, then something may be happening there. Again, another cliché: smoke There is a fire somewhere. “
This fall, Rockman’s Stakeholders’ Meeting is an effort to bring Delaware’s powerful police lobby into the bill. The Delaware Police Friendship Association and the Delaware Police Association, which represent Rank and File police officers, and the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council opposed the bill earlier this year.
But despite the opposition, state police are not opposed to making changes, said Patrick Ogden, chairman of the Delaware Police Commissioner’s Council.
“We go to improve our profession, rather than punishing or handcuffing those who serve and protect our communities, where the changes we make are value-based. I want to make sure that I get it, “he said. “We agree that we need to build trust in the communities we serve. Transparency is an important step in achieving that goal.”
Congressman Kendra Johnson, one of Rockman’s major co-sponsors of SB149, was optimistic about the impact of the law on the relationship between the community and police.
“This is very likely the first step towards trust, trust between law enforcement officers, and trust between the communities they serve and the masses,” she said. “And in addition to trust, there are educational opportunities, because I need to know you a little better in order to trust you.”
This article was originally published WHYY.org..
New Initiatives to Lighten Delaware Police Illegal Acts | States and Regions
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