The Massachusetts chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, today released the following statement after Governor Baker signed S 2963, which would establish a statewide law enforcement Standards and Training Commission with the power to independently investigate officer misconduct and revoke officer certification when necessary.
“This is a meaningful step forward,” said Emma Waterhouse, a volunteer with Massachusetts Students Demand Action. “Holding law enforcement accountable for misconduct is essential to improving the relationships between communities and police, and strengthening our use of force standards will help prevent future police shootings. Though there is more work to be done to improve oversight and accountability for law enforcement in the Commonwealth, this law will make Massachusetts safer for all of us.”
The police reform bill also includes a series of other reforms, including establishing statewide 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, significantly restricting the use of no-knock warrants, and ensuring that records relating to investigations of police misconduct are accessible to the public.
Black and Latino 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.