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Michigan Bills Push Police Changes Year After Floyd Death

Barb Whitney
/
Lansing Art Gallery

Michigan lawmakers unveiled bipartisan bills Tuesday that would require updated use-of-force policies and make changes designed to hold police accountable for misconduct a year after the slaying of George Floyd in Minnesota.

The Senate legislation would, among other things, let a state agency revoke the license of an officer who has used excessive force causing death or serious injuries. The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards also would be required to develop guidelines for independent investigations of officer-involved deaths.

Each law enforcement agency would have to adopt a use-of-force policy that emphasizes de-escalation techniques unless they are not feasible, includes a continuum of proportional responses and requires an officer to exhaust all other alternatives before using deadly force.

Bills targeting police misconduct did not advance last year despite global protests and a racial reckoning in the wake of Floyd’s murder at the hands of a white officer. But proponents expressed optimism, citing many months of bipartisan work.

“We think it will actually not just help keep the community safe but also help keep officers safe as well,” said Sen. Stephanie Chang, a Detroit Democrat who announced the package with Republican Sen. Roger Victory of Hudsonville. They are the ranking members of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

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