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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 8, 2020 03:26 PM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: 8 Can't Wait
Current events require us to act.  For too long, black and brown individuals have lived in fear of their lives by those who are sworn to protect them.  No black or brown person should ever have to fear they will be murdered while in their home, while walking down the street, while shopping at a store, or while driving to their mother’s house by a member of law enforcement.  While recent murders have raised awareness, incidents like these are unfortunately not new.  For too long black and brown folks have lived under fear and oppression.
According to data from Mapping Police Violence, more than 1,000 unarmed people died between 2013 and 2019 as a result of police harm.  A third of those individuals were black.
For too long policies with racist underpinnings have been commonly used.  The recent deaths of unarmed black and brown people have only highlighted the need to address these systematically unfair policies.  We need comprehensive reform of these policies to force the change people across the nation are clamoring for.
A 2016 study entitled “Examining the Role of Use of Force Policies in Ending Police Violence,” found that the implementation of eight specific use of force policies “would kill 72% fewer people on average than [police] departments with none of these policies in place.”

My proposal would create a more explicit and just standard for the use of force by police.  Included in this standard would be:
  • Requiring the exhaustion of all reasonable alternatives before using force;
  • Requiring the use of force be reported, including when force has been threatened but not used;
  • Banning chokeholds and strangleholds;
  • Establishing a use of force continuum that limits the type of force and weapons that can be used for specific types of resistance;
  • Requiring the use of de-escalation measures prior to the use of force;
  • Establishing a duty to intervene and stop excessive force by another officer, as well as immediately reporting incidents to a supervisor;
  • Banning shooting at a moving vehicle; and,
  • Requiring a warning be given prior to the use of fatal force. 
Please join me in sponsoring this legislation. 

Introduced as SB1020