The Massachusetts State Senate this morning voted to pass a police reform and racial equity omnibus bill. The bill includes legislative proposals backed by the ACLU of Massachusetts, including provisions that would limit qualified immunity when officers violate a person’s civil rights, press pause on government use of face surveillance technology, certify police officers, and set limits on use of force.
Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response:
“This bill takes significant steps to protect people and to strengthen police accountability in the Commonwealth. We applaud Senate leadership for their initiative in crafting a bill that begins to respond to the urgency of this historic moment, and for their resolve in championing necessary reforms in the face of pressure to maintain the status quo. It’s time for systemic change and an end to policing as usual. In particular, in order to make any laws about excessive use of force meaningful, it is absolutely essential to reform qualified immunity. While the ACLU and many of our allies still wish to see qualified immunity eliminated, we commend the Senate for taking this critical action and urge the House to do the same.
“While many of the reforms in this bill are laudable and crucial, more must be done to fundamentally change the role of police in our society. As the bill moves forward, the ACLU will continue to advocate for a reimagined vision of policing – one that limits the scope, power, and responsibilities of police.”