Illinois Passes Police Reform Law

elgie-sims“Police encounters gone tragically wrong in Ferguson, New York City, Baltimore and elsewhere forced the nation to confront uncomfortable realities about race and policing in America, and here in Illinois, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle felt compelled to take action to address the disparities and restore trust. Independent investigations, better training and better record-keeping will foster an atmosphere of seriousness about tackling racial disparities in law enforcement and zero tolerance of police misconduct.” Statement of Representative Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), who spearheaded the legislation in the House.

Kwame Raoul

Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul

“Illinois has set the standard, set the standard nationally.” Statement of Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul, who co-sponsored the Bill in the state senate.

 

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law, which will take full effect in January 2016. Currently the state is forming a commission to review training requirements and other issues. The commission is scheduled to report to legislators and Governor Rauner by the end of January.

Some of the highlights of the new law.

The Police and Community Relations Improvement Act is 174 pages.

Each officer-involved death investigation shall be conducted by at least 2 investigators. No investigator can be employed by the law enforcement agency that employs the officer involved in the officer-involved death, unless the investigator is employed by the Department of State Police and is not assigned to the same division or unit as the officer involved in the death.

Bruce+Rauner+2

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner

Investigation reports shall be given to the State’s Attorney of the county in which the officer-involved death occurred. If the State’s Attorney, or a designated special prosecutor determines there is no basis to prosecute the law enforcement officer involved in the death, or if the law enforcement officer is not otherwise charged or indicted, the investigators shall publicly release a report.

A $5 increase in traffic fines will be dedicated to providing grants to pay for body cameras and training. Body cameras must be turned on at all times when the officer is in uniform and is responding to calls for service or engaged in any law enforcement-related encounter or activity, that occurs while the officer is on-duty. The cameras must be able to record for up to 10 hours, and footage will be held for 90 days before being destroyed unless it has been flagged because of a complaint or as part of an investigation.

No officer may hinder or prohibit any person who is not a law enforcement officer from recording a law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her duties in a public place or when the officer has no reasonable expectation of privacy.

An officer shall not use a choke hold in the performance of his or her duties, unless deadly force is justified. Choke holds and any lesser contact with the throat or neck area is forbidden to prevent the destruction of evidence by ingestion.

Police officers will be required to issue a receipt to citizens that they stop for suspicion. The receipt must contain the officer’s name and badge number, and note the reason for the stop.

California Aims For More Accountability

Also this week, California has become the first state to ban grand juries in police shooting cases. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law. The new law leaves it up to the prosecutor to decide whether to charge a police officer who uses deadly force. Many believe this will lead to more transparency and accountability, because grand jury proceedings are secretive and confidential.

State Senator Holly Mitchell who authored the bill said, “The use of the criminal grand jury process, and the refusal to indict as occurred in Ferguson and other communities of color, has fostered an atmosphere of suspicion that threatens to compromise our justice system.”

 

Governor Brown also signed a bill that ensures the right of civilians to record or photograph the police in public areas. In the past, some civilians who have done so were arrested for obstructing justice.

 

Posted on 08/15/2015, in Potpourri and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Just think how different George Zimmerman’s case would have evolved if Florida had such transparency!

    Liked by 1 person

    • roderick2012

      Linda, Florida does that transparency.

      That’s why we all know that Zimmerman case was fixed from Judge Nelson to Angela Corey who was appointed by crook Rick Scott.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My mistake. It just seemed the entire way, Zimmerman was caught on camera doing and saying one thing, and then it all seemed to get overlooked. Maybe I’m just tired of the whole thing Of course, it’s hotter than !@#$% here today, so I’m dragging. It was 117 degrees yesterday, 115 today and no relief in sight (Pity Party! LOL!)

        Liked by 4 people

        • Whew Linda! That is HOT. We had a night in the lower 70’s here. My A/C has only come on twice today. The thermostat is set at 75.

          Liked by 1 person

        • roderick2012

          Sorry to hear about the awful heat.

          I guess you’re in Arizona or Nevada. We have to suffer with the high humidity until November in Florida.

          Like

          • Two sides to a story

            Cali is hot, hot hot!

            Like

          • Arizona, East Valley in the Phoenix area. I’ve lived all over, including Florida and I HATE the humidity. I don’t miss having to dig my car out of the snow in winter in the DC area, but, Damn, I hate summers here!!! It will probably be November before I can turn off the A/C and open the windows! I think that, no matter where you live, you’re going to get screwed at least one season out of the year! My friend in Germany says it’s been 100 degrees there regularly this summer, and they don’t have A/C!

            Like

    • Hey Linda! You mean the federal investigation? I remember AG Holder saying that he was going to release the report of their investigation, but he did not.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so glad – every day I add at LEAST one more to my Facebook of just one of many now police encounters. THIS MUST END AND IT MUST END NOW!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. In Denver, Levi Frasier filmed cops who beat a man. The cops demanded that he give them his tablet. Levi lied and told the cops that he did not film anything. The cops made him write a report that he did not see them act inappropriately. The cops took his tablet anyway. However, the tablet automatically backed up to a cloud.

    Levi gave the video to local tv station Fox 31, who aired it. The police department went after the local Fox affiliate for airing the video footage and corresponding news story. They also publicly released Frasier’s criminal records as if that negated what the officers were caught doing on video.

    Because of this, a bill has been introduced in Colorado that would fine police officers $15,000 for deleting video evidence or interfering with a citizens 1st Amendment rights.

    http://www.copblock.org/134983/police-delete-video-of-excessive-force-threaten-videographer-with-arrest/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    Liked by 5 people

  4. the longest journey ever began with ONE step…..we are seeing already the public awakening to the reality of this brutality and step by step laws are being passed…the protests ARE WORKING.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Two sides to a story

    Illinois seems to be a leader in some police and justice system reforms. I just took a free class on Coursera about wrongful conviction. I was aware that in January, 2000, Governor George Ryan of Illinois established a moratorium on executions that would last over ten years, but didn’t know that it was primarily due to ONE COP who had done so many brutal forced confessions that landed so many people on death row, that the state had to take action. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Burge

    You actually won’t see the full details about Commander Jon Burge on some official sites about the death penalty in Illinois, which is a shame and a strange omission, but it points to how pervasive corruption is in our law enforcement agencies and criminal justice systems, and how even with established history, abuses are still hushed up and downplayed by the powers that be.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Two sides,
      Thanks so much for that history. Along with Burge was the Rolando Cruz death penalty case. It took 3 trials before he was acquitted. I supported repealing the death penalty in Illinois, and am happy that our legislatures listened.

      Like

  6. “A $5 increase in traffic fines will be dedicated to providing grants to pay for body cameras and training. Body cameras must be turned on at all times when the officer is in uniform and is responding to calls for service or engaged in any law enforcement-related encounter or activity, that occurs while the officer is on-duty. The cameras must be able to record for up to 10 hours, and footage will be held for 90 days before being destroyed unless it has been flagged because of a complaint or as part of an investigation.”

    I like this!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have written numerous blogs on the infamous Jon Burge. This is why I was so concerned about the Homan Square stories published by the Guardian this past year. Chicago’s Cook county PD has a lengthy history of abuses.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m excited to see what happens in Illinois.

    I’ll be curious to see how eliminating grand juries here in California goes. I’m not certain whether prosecutorial discretion is the answer. This recent Orange County news is prominent in mind as I type this.

    (Not sure what is the answer, but concur it’s not grand juries.)

    Like

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