Special Session Proposal on Police Reform and Racial Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2020
Arizona House and Senate Democrats have called for a special session to address persistent and ongoing issues of police brutality and racial profiling in our state. Decades of systemic and deliberate mistreatment of African Americans and other people of color have been exposed in Arizona and throughout our country. Our nation is rising up in solidarity to demand change after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and unanswered questions surrounding the shooting death of Dion Johnson by an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper. As lawmakers, we must commit ourselves to do better, to listen and learn from those closest to the pain and anguish caused by these needless deaths and turn them into action. We propose five measures to begin that long overdue conversation about transparency, accountability and police training:
Body Cameras: Require every peace officer to wear a body camera that records audio and video while the officer is engaged in official duties. Cameras provide an objective alternative viewpoint for the protection and safety of the public and officers.
Outside Oversight on Use of Force Investigations: Require use-of-force investigations to be conducted by an outside jurisdiction and outside county attorney.
Statewide Officer Discipline Database: Create a statewide AZ POST database to include all Arizona law enforcement officers' discipline records. Mandate database searches for all new hires so that so-called "bad apple" officers don't just jump from agency to agency.
Better Training: Enhance AZ POST training to include cultural sensitivity and de-escalation.
Limit Qualified Immunity: We must put limits on qualified immunity to allow law enforcement officers to be sued for simple negligence for actions or omissions carried out while on duty. We would remove the "justification defense" for an officer who is found to have acted unlawfully.