SENATE OF VIRGINIA PASSES SWEEPING POLICING REFORM PACKAGE

RICHMOND -- This afternoon, the Senate of Virginia passed Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie E. Locke’s (D-Hampton) SB 5030 on a 21-19, party line vote. The bill represents a sweeping policing reform package, which includes provisions which will:

  • Prohibit No Knock Warrants (Breonna Taylor)
  • Ban Sex With Individuals Arrested by Law Enforcement
  • Prohibit Hiring of Officers Fired or Resigned During Use of Force Investigations
  • Expands Decertification Procedure for Law Enforcement Officers
  • Ban chokeholds and strangleholds (George Floyd)
  • Require Attempts at De-escalation Prior to Use of Force
  • Require Warnings Before Shots Fired
  • Require Law Enforcement to Exhaust All Other Means Prior to Using Deadly Force 
  • Create Duty to Intervene by Fellow Law Enforcement Officers
  • Prohibit Shooting at Moving Motor Vehicles 
  • Require Departments to Create a Use of Force Continuum 
  • Require Comprehensive Reporting by All Law Enforcement Agencies Including Use of Force Data
  • Requires De-escalation Training and Standardizes Minimum Training
  • Eliminate Increased Law Enforcement Funding if Agency Fails to Obtain Accreditation

Said Senator Locke, “Senate Democrats have spent the last three months fine tuning this bill, soliciting input from community advocates and stakeholders across the spectrum. We have addressed many concerns and issues and the bill has gone through several iterations. There are some who oppose the legislation who say that we should not allow what happened 1200 miles from here to dictate policy in Virginia, but we have blinders on if we think police misconduct does not exist here. We believe this bill brings equity to Virginia policing and we are proud of the package that was passed today.”

Said Senator Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon), “If there is any ambiguity of what the law is, qualified immunity kicks in. By making these changes to the Code of Virginia, by clarifying what is legal and what is not legal, we are taking qualified immunity out of the mix. Furthermore, this bill is going to make law enforcement safer and our police departments stronger. It’s going to go a long way towards professionalizing our police forces that are not accredited right now. That’s why law enforcement agencies support this bill. I am proud that we are taking this historical moment to effect some real, meaningful change.” 

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