NewsRegion C Palm Beach County


State, federal lawmakers call for more oversight of police officers

Plan would create national database to track misconduct complaints
Posted at 3:44 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 18:11:35-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Who is policing the police?

Lawmakers at the state and federal levels are drafting bills for police reform to prevent what happened to George Floyd in Minnesota from happening to any other citizens.

"When you have an act like we saw in Minnesota with the murder of George Floyd, it disgusts not only ordinary Americans, but it disgusts the good policemen and women in this country," said U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel.

The congresswoman said discussions about proposing legislation for police reform is not aimed at the good men and women who put on the uniform to protect and serve every day.

Instead, the discussions aim to make sure the bad apples no longer go under the radar.

"Develop a national public database that would cover all police agencies in the United States and territories, and that would really prevent an officer who is fired at one agency that is going and getting a job at another," said Rep. Frankel.

Frankel added that on a call with the Democratic Caucus on Monday, lawmakers discussed six categories and creating a database so officers who have piled up misconduct complaints are reviewed.

At the state level, State Sen. Bobby Powell said this bill will also be proposed in the next legislative session.

"This legislation will keep a database on the number of complaints that are filed against officers, and then the Senate president, the Speaker of the House, and the governor would then review that on an annual basis to take a look at some of these bad actors," said Powell. "There is no reason that somebody should have 10 infractions and still be on the police force."

Defining "use of force" is also a priority for Democratic leaders.

"Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict flow of blood or oxygen to the brain," said Rep. Frankel. "That includes neck holds, choke holds, and similar excessive force deeming that use of force a federal civil rights violation."

The congresswoman said the progress of these proposals will depend on where the U.S. Senate is.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Scott was not available for an interview, but his staff released this statement to WPTV:

"Senator Scott will continue to look at every option to maintain open communication with law enforcement leaders and make sure they have the resources and guidance they need to appropriately handle any misconduct while keeping communities safe."