Emergency police reform legislation passes in DC


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Helen Ehrlich, Editor-In-Chief

After historic protests rocked the world, measures to alter the state of racist policing in the United States have just begun in the District of Columbia, after decades of tensions. (Read more about the protests in DC here.)


Emergency legislation regarding police reform passed through DC’s City Council. The legislation bans chokeholds, allows felons in DC to vote while serving their prison sentences, bans the use of chemicals by police, makes it easier to fire officers, improves DC City Council access to police body camera recordings and blocks officers from reviewing those videos prior to writing reports. They declined to shrink the size of the Metro Police Department, which is a key issue to many protestors.


This package of bills serves as the base for further reform, as these changes will only take effect for a total of 90 days. The rulings can can be extended to 225 days, but to fully and permanently change the law, DC’s City Council must not only vote again, but also hold public hearings. Mayor Boswer stated, “Allowing for community input and vetting by our residents can only serve to refine and strengthen changes to policing in the District.”


In a statement to the Washington Post, Eteng Ettah, a community organizer with Black Youth Project 100, stated, “Folks aren’t interested in reform anymore. The system is beyond reform. Everything that’s included is just a Band-Aid. A different training here or a different protocol there will not be enough to stop the police violence in the city.”


“Black Lives Matter” was also painted in in 50-foot bright yellow letters on a street leading up to the White House, on June 5, 2020. This was then mirrored by cities around the nation.