BOSTON, MA – Senator Pat Jehlen, Representative Evandro Carvalho, and Representative Mary Keefe joined in testimony before the Joint Committee on The Judiciary yesterday in support of reforms for police investigations into officer-involved deaths.
Representative Carvalho filed H. 1227 An Act relative to maintaining the integrity of the judicial system, while Senator Jehlen and Representative Keefe filed separate legislation H. 1428 An Act regarding judicial investigations of law enforcement officer-involved deaths. The elected officials urged the Committee to release a bill to establish uniform, independent investigations of all officer-involved deaths.
The legislators also jointly submitted written testimony signed by 20 of their colleagues.
“Police officers do a dangerous and difficult job. Without the trust of the communities they serve, their job becomes all the more difficult,” said Senator Jehlen (D-Somerville). “By building an independent, uniform system to investigate officer involved deaths, both the public and the law enforcement community can trust that the truth will be found.”
“In the wake of protests across the nation, it has become clear that a large segment of the population does not trust the current system of investigation,” Representative Keefe (D-Worcester) stated Wednesday. “When the community lacks faith in the impartiality of law enforcement and the judicial system, it makes the jobs of our men and women in uniform much more difficult. The legislature must act quickly and pass a bill this session to repair community relations and encourage community trust in law enforcement.”
“As we grapple with the challenges of policing in today’s national climate, I hope policy makers can embrace smart system reforms like the Special Prosecutor Act to address points of contention made visible over the last year,” said Representative Carvalho (D-Boston). “By embracing independence and transparency in the investigation of officer-involved deaths, Massachusetts can continue to lead the way on criminal justice reform.”