BOSTON (WHDH) - The Massachusetts Senate held a moment of silence for George Floyd before approving what supporters called a landmark bill for police reform and racial justice Tuesday, but the bill would still need to be approved by the House and Gov. Charlie Baker.
Following the killing of Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, calls for police reform escalated to a fever pitch with summertime protests in Boston and around the country. In Massachusetts, it took months for state lawmakers to agree on a compromise police reform bill after secret negotiations.
The bill would put limits on qualified immunity which protects police from civil lawsuits, and It also bans chokeholds, racial profiling and the use of facial recognition technology.
It also creates a Standards And Training Commission to certify officers and investigate police wrongdoing, and requires officers to intervene when they see another officer using excessive force.
‘It is one of the proudest processes and pieces of work that I have had the privilege to participate in in my 12 years in this body,” said Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz.
But Minority Leader Bruce Tarr said the bill is not fair to police officers.
“So we now have a situation where a law enforcement officer whose life is in jeopardy would not be allowed to use a chokehold in a defensive way,” Tarr said.
In a statement, the State Police Association of Massachusetts accused lawmakers of acting in haste and not being transparent.
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