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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2022 10:27 AM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: 8 Can’t Wait
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce Senate Bill 45 from the 2021-2022 legislative session. I hope you will join me in sponsoring this overdue legislation.

For too long we have ignored the racialized character of police violence and the growing body of research that shows the risk of being killed by police is largely predicated on one’s race.
According to data from Mapping Police Violence, in the U.S., black people are 2.9 times more likely to be killed by police than white people. In Pennsylvania, it is 4.7 times more likely. These statistics continue to be consistent with a 2019 collaborative research article by Rutgers University, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Michigan, that found among all groups, black men and boys face the highest lifetime risk of being killed by police, which amounts to one in every 1,000 black men being killed by police. For young men of color, police use of force is among the leading causes of death.
For too long we have tolerated policies that do little to prevent these atrocious instances of police violence from occurring.  The recent deaths of unarmed black and brown people have only highlighted the need to address these systematically unfair and inadequate policies.  

My proposal would create a more explicit and just standard for the use of force by police.  Included in the 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. 
A 2016 study entitled “Examining the Role of Use of Force Policies in Ending Police Violence,” found that if police departments implemented all eight of the use of force policies recommended, it would result in 72% fewer people being killed on average than departments with none of the policies in place.
Please join me in cosponsoring this needed comprehensive reform to bring about the change people across our Commonwealth demand and deserve. Contact my office with any questions.

Introduced as SB66