On June 8, the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus released a new plan to implement police reform in Michigan.
The Caucus was joined by State Representatives Tenisha Yancey, Sherry Gay Dagnogo, Tyrone Carter, Sarah Anthony, Felicia Brabec as well as the mother and cousin of Brianna Taylor, who was killed by police in March 2020.
The Equal Justice For All reform package attempts to address policing reform at multiple levels.
The plan would eliminate facial recognition technology, a technology that is known to misidentify Blacks and other persons of color. It would also stop qualified immunity, a policy protection that helps shield government officials from civil lawsuits.
Another section of the plan would ban chokeholds and the use of no-knock warrants. It would also establish clear guidelines for force and psychological and verbal abuse. Additionally, officers would be held accountable fort threatening citizens.
The Democrats are also calling for officer’s personal employment records to be open and available to the public.
“Police misconduct records are not able to be foia-able right now in the state of Michigan. We use all kinds of instances to say why we can’t let those records out, but the bottom line is this, they’re public employees, they’re being paid by public dollars, and taxpayers are tired of paying for their mistakes,” said Tyrone Carter.
The last part of the 16 bill legislative package offers incentives to police who serve in the communities they live. The plan also seeks to expand the definition of hate crimes to include people who make false 911 calls against race, sexual orientation or nationality, making it possible for people to seek civil lawsuits should they be victims of these crimes.
According to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (PNAS) about 1 in every 1,000 black men can expect to be killed by police. Risk of being killed by police peaks between the ages of 20 and 35 for men and women.
“Over 1,127 people were killed last year by police. Only 16 officers were ever charged with a crime, that’s one percent. When it came time for justice for the families, the best we could manage was one conviction,” said Felicia Brabec.