HARTFORD, Conn. — Today, Governor Ned Lamont, and the Connecticut chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety grassroots networks, released the following statements on the signing of police reform legislation that will increase police accountability and transparency, championed by Connecticut’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, Senator Winfield, and Representative Stafstrom.
“These reforms are focused on bringing real change to end the systemic discrimination that exists in our criminal justice and policing systems that have impacted minority communities for far too long,” Governor Lamont said. “Ultimately, what we are enacting today are policies focused on providing additional safeguards to protect peoples’ lives and make our communities stronger. Our nation and our state has been having a conversation on this topic for decades, and these reforms are long overdue.”
“Holding law enforcement to a high standard of accountability will make our communities safer,” said Stacey Mayer, a volunteer with the Connecticut chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “This new law is a win for public safety, and a win for our fellow advocates who have been calling for these changes for years. These measures bring us closer to dismantling the systemic racism that is built into our police departments, and we thank Governor Lamont for enacting them.”
“I’m proud to see our state take action on police reform during this important reckoning in our country, ” said Elana Atlas, student leader with Staples High School Students Demand Action. “Our lawmakers prioritized these policies during the special session because they knew they would save lives. We hope these new policies will prevent and deter violence by those who are meant to protect and serve.”
Included legislation signed today are policies to improve use of force standards, require police departments to divest from the use of military equipment in our communities, and establish an independent review process to investigate officer misconduct. The legislation comes after increased scrutiny around police accountability and transparency, following the killings by police of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Read more about gun violence and police here.
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.