The Massachusetts State Senate today released a police reform and racial equity omnibus bill. The bill includes legislative proposals backed by the ACLU of Massachusetts, including provisions that would end qualified immunity, press pause on government use of face surveillance technology, certify police officers, and set clear limits on use of force.
Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response:
“Across the country, people are demanding a complete shift in policing, moving away from a system that enables violence and racial injustice, and towards alternatives that respect community autonomy and Black lives. This bill responds to that call to action, and the ACLU is grateful for the Senate’s leadership. In particular, Massachusetts must end qualified immunity and ensure that people—particularly those who are Black or Brown—have recourse when their rights are violated by police. No one should be above the law.
“At the same time, there can be no more limited or temporary fixes when it comes to policing. To address police abuses and violence, we also need to address the tools that exacerbate these crises. The ACLU is pleased that the Senate has included a face surveillance moratorium, but Massachusetts has the opportunity to lead the nation by passing a statewide ban on government use of the technology. While cities like Boston and Springfield have already banned the technology, the legislature should pass permanent solutions to protect all people in our state from dystopian, biased face surveillance.”