Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-1109

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE.

Vote Date:

3/27/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

3/20/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Judiciary Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Members of the minority community have represented that they have been the subject of excessive force at the hands of local police departments.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

LEGISLATIVE BLACK AND PUERTO RICAN CAUCUS, Rep. Bruce Morris, Chairman: Supports this bill. The bill takes essential steps in restoring trust between law enforcement and minority communities by further establishing transparency, accountability, and cultural competency within the entity.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN AFFAIRS COMMISSION, Subira Gordon:

We support this bill because it lays the foundation for addressing some of the many issues that communities of color have with their interactions with law enforcement. It requires police officers to receive cultural competency training as well as training regarding the use of deadly force. It also requires a plan to recruit and maintain minority police officers to serve in communities that have high percentages of minority residents. Nationally the problem of white police officers policing minority communities has steered a large debate about minority law enforcement recruiting.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION COMMISSION; Supports this bill with recommended changes. Under current law an image or video recording “owned, used, received or retained by a public agency” is a “public record” under CGS 1-200(5). In addition, the Commission believes it is not necessary, and, indeed, may be confusing, to include references to particular exemptions to disclosure that may apply to the records at issue. We suggest the following substitute language.

“Any image or video recorded on the equipment used pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall be a public record or file, as defined in section 1-200(5) of the general statutes, and shall be disclosed in accordance with the provisions of section 1-212 of the general statutes, subsection (a) of section 1-210 of the general statutes and section 1-215 of the general statutes.” With the above-described proposed modification to the language the Commission supports the bill's passage.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

None Submitted

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION

CONNECTICUT CONFERENCE OF MUNICIPALITIES: Opposes this bill: CCM is concerned that the bill does not provide state funding to purchase body cameras. Purchasing such cameras would be an expensive enterprise for municipalities. CCM supports the pilot program reported out of the Public Safety Committee.

AFSCME COUNCIL 15, PATRICK GAYNOR, President: Opposes this bill for several reasons. This is a collective bargaining matter subject to negotiation as a change in working conditions, There are privacy issues for the public. When an officer goes into a home, people would be subject to have the interior of their homes on the internet after someone FOI's the tape. People would feel uncomfortable coming up to the police officer with pertinent information on a case fearing their identity would be exposed. Finally municipalities would incur a huge cost for the cost of the cameras.

AFSCME COUNCIL 15, SGT. MICHAEL BISNOV, PLAINVILLE POLICE DEPT.: Opposes this bill. The United States Dept. of Justice published statistics regarding arrest-related deaths from 2003-2009, these statistics included numbers provided by police departments in the State of Connecticut. The FBI estimated that during this time period law enforcement officers made 97.9 million arrests. Of these 97.9 million arrests, 4,813 arrests resulted in death. So what percentage of these 97.9 million arrests resulted in death? It's incalculable. It is less than 1%. So to break it down further, an American citizen has a better that 99% chance of surviving an arrest encounter with American police officers. This is also only referring to arrest related situations, which are without question by their very nature the most strenuous, volatile encounter a citizen and police officer could possibly share. As of March 20, 2015, the Plainville Police Dept. has logged 5,034 incident report numbers for the year. That number includes thousands of interaction with the general public. You will not find a single excessive use of force, or officer involved fatality within those thousands of encounters. You will find thousands of lives saved, thousands of lives touched, and thousands of victims provided hope where it once never existed.

Reported by: George Marinelli

Date: 4-6-15