Representative Barber Votes in Favor of Omnibus Police Reform Bill

56855920-5334-4A4E-94EC-E005FE965711House Passes Police Reform Bill 93-66
BOSTON​– Representative Christine P. Barber of Medford and Somerville voted in favor of H.4860​: An Act Relative to Justice, Equity and Accountability in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth​, an omnibus police reform bill. This bill was a response to recent urgent calls to address racism and police brutality.
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus (MBLLC) championed this legislation, working for years to implement necessary reforms to policing to address structural racism. The Caucus’s leadership on this bill was critical.
This bill would create an independent certification system for law enforcement to investigate misconduct or excessive use of force, update police training, strengthen use of force standards including banning chokeholds, and assess the role of race in state institutions. Other provisions of the bill clarify that persons in custody cannot consent to sexual relations with a law enforcement officer, limit the use of facial recognition technology and biometric surveillance, and limit school record sharing with law enforcement.
“I’m proud to follow the leadership of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and vote in favor of this bill. It’s imperative that we listen to communities of color as we focus on addressing police brutality, systemic racism, and the issues that Black and brown people in the Commonwealth face on a daily basis,” said Rep. Barber. “While the bill makes necessary and overdue structural reforms to policing in Massachusetts, it is just the starting point to rethink public safety and dismantle structural racism in our state. The fight for racial justice does not end here.”
Rep. Barber co-sponsored a number of amendments that were adopted, including providing police with anti-discrimination training to protect people with autism and developmental disabilities; creating a commission on issues that disproportionately impact Black men and boys; making the licensing information for officers publicly available; establishing a Latino Commission; and adding Asian representation to the police standards and training commission. Representative Barber also voted in favor of an amendment that makes sure children and elders aren’t present when a no-knock warrant is issued–further restricting the use of no-knock warrants from the original bill.
Rep. Barber also co-sponsored and voted in favor of several amendments that would have strengthened the bill, but failed on roll call votes, including amendments that would have banned tear gas, placed stronger limitations on qualified immunity, and placed restrictions on law-enforcement acquiring military-grade equipment.
The final bill passed on a 93-66 vote. It is now headed to a Conference Committee to work out differences with the Senate version.

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