Since the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police on May 25, 2020, the world has witnessed an historic level of protests — from coast to coast, and across Wisconsin — condemning police practices, seeking accountability, and calling for an end to anti-black oppression across institutions of all kinds.
Policymakers at all levels are responding to the massive demonstrations. Gov. Tony Evers said, “We must confront society’s comfort with racism. It is who we are; but it is not who we have to be tomorrow.”
And he issued a call to action — that the Legislature immediately pass Assembly Bill 1012 that would set a statewide standard on police use of force.
The bill (AB 1012) was introduced in March by a group of Democrats, but Republicans at the time refused to consider any police reforms. The bill was sent to the Assembly committee on Criminal Justice & Public Safety, where it has never been taken up.
Will the GOP leadership allow a vote this time? The Governor may call for a special session, but those attempts have been met with the GOP “gavel in, gavel out” form of dismissal.
Wisconsin’s largest police union, the WPPA, has declared its support for a nationwide ban on chokeholds (a practice already taught not to use), and the creation of a national registry of policy misconduct.
Some police departments are reviewing their policies using the “8 Can’t Wait” rubric to reduce killings by police and save lives.
The office of Attorney General Josh Kaul has proposed several measures to “make our justice system work more equitably and enhance public safety” including: funding a hate crimes hotline; expanding police training on de-escalation and other competencies; requiring disciplinary records be available to police departments on hiring; and reforming the bail system to detain based on flight risk, not ability to pay. (by Josh Kaul, The Cap Times Opinion Jun 9, 2020)
We hold our elected officials and their appointees accountable: the people’s demand for justice must be heard; our communities deserve speedy and deliberate reforms.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Contact your state senate & assembly representatives Tell them you want Sen. Fitzgerald and Speaker Vos to get back to work and VOTE FOR AB 1012 – the bill to reform police use of force and save lives.