Labor and Public Employees Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6663

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING POLICE MISCONDUCT.

Vote Date:

3/9/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/21/2017

File No.:

 

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Labor and Public Employees Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

There is no established accountability or consequences for police officers who use excessive force.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None submitted.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Alok Bhatt, Policy Analyst, Commission on Equality and Opportunity

They support this bill because highly publicized accounts of police violence have exacerbated tensions between law enforcement agencies and people of color. A Hartford case shows dashcam footage of officers kicking a man while he lies on the ground handcuffed and subdued. This shows we must follow through on accountability with action. Officers who undermine and deviate from their duties do not deserve to remain on the force.

Vincent Cangiano, Self

Mr. Cangiano's testimony said over the past few years, excessive force by police officers has led to unnecessary deaths which is a tragedy for both communities and law enforcement. This breaks the public faith at a time when we need to know that officers are there for all of us.

Jorge Fernandez, Self

As a minority male he feels it is his moral obligation to speak up for protections for men and women who are at risk of police brutality. He has experienced only positive relations with the law, but is afraid that police officers coming up in the system will see rhetoric as an excuse not to exercise better judgement and act as if they are above the law.

Michael Clausen, Self

His testimony stated police professionals have been granted extreme leniency when using excessive force, especially when black, indigenous, trans, queer, and other marginalized individuals are involved. Often, if any action is taken at all, it has been slow. Officers have been given the benefit of a doubt and action taken only when there are news reports or videos of the brutality presented.

David McGuire, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut

Mr. McGuire testified police are government employees who have difficult, demanding jobs to fairly and justly enforce public safety services. Communities entrust police with extraordinary powers, including the discretion to use lethal and non-lethal force. When officers resort to discrimination, violence or otherwise abuse the powers of their office, it violates the trust placed in them and undermines the faith in law enforcement. Deterring police misconduct and holding officers accountable benefits everyone. Current law is limited and does not provide recourse when an officer abuses their powers. Nearly half of Americans polled believe the police are generally not held accountable for misconduct. The public deserves police forces that fairly, justly and wisely protect and respect all people and all officers deserve to work with competent colleagues.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

AFSCME, Council 4

They oppose this bill because it requires the firing of an officer convicted of any crime. Also, it prohibits an officer from being paid while under suspension after being accused of excessive force. Officers have been found to be fully exonerated after being wrongly accused of crimes and this bill would allow punishment even before a finding of guilt. Everyone should receive due process and fair treatment under the law.

Stephen Anderson, President, CSEA SEIU Local 2001

They respectfully oppose this bill since it is overly broad and has the potential for unintended consequences while subjecting law enforcement professionals to excessive penalties.

Glenn Terlecki, President, Connecticut Police and Fire Union

Police officers are now facing more pressure than ever before. Officers employed by the state have made concessions to their pay and benefits through the collective bargaining process. They don't ask for a lot, but they do expect that promises made regarding their pay and benefits will be kept. This bill undermines these promises, especially to those who have sacrificed the most to keep society safe under increasingly difficult circumstances.

Patti Shea, Attorney, Police Officers Association of Connecticut

Her testimony stated this is a very broad proposal that would have state and municipal officers lose all their due process and legal rights in any situation where “excessive force” is used.

Reported by: Marie Knudsen

Date: March 27, 2017