Whitmer Calls for Police Reform in Michigan Amid George Floyd Protests

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Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her support on Wednesday for a series of policy changes that would help police reform in Michigan, including additional training for officers, increased reporting and encouraging agencies to implement intervention policies.

Whitmer also voiced support for a Michigan Senate bill that would mandate implicit bias training, de-escalation techniques and mental health screenings for incoming law enforcement officers.

The governor’s support comes as the nation is rocked by protests and violent riots over the death of George Floyd, who died last week after an arresting officer knelt on his neck. The four officers involved in the incident have all been fired and charged.

“The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor were a result of hundreds of years of inequity and institutional racism against Black Americans,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Here in Michigan, we are taking action and working together to address the inequities Black Michiganders face every day. That’s why I’m calling on Michigan police departments to strengthen their training and policies to save lives and keep people safe. I am also ready to partner with the Michigan Legislature and law enforcement officials to pass police reform bills into law.”

Whitmer is specifically requesting that the Michigan Commission of Law Enforcement Standards provide guidance to law enforcement agencies in the state on “continuing education” about new laws, as well as diversity and implicit bias training.

She also urged law enforcement agencies to implement duty to intervene policies, which would ensure officers intervene when they observe another officer doing something “inappropriate or illegal,” Whitmer’s office said. She praised Southfield Police Chief Elvin Barren and Lansing Police Chief Daryl Green, whom she said have taken efforts to make sure officers intervene when necessary.

“Police officers must have policies and training systems in place that encourage and mandate they take immediate action to intervene when observing any form of police brutality,” said Green in a statement.

Lt. Governor Gilchrist said the state recognizes the shortcoming “of the systems in place today.

“People across Michigan have been calling for changes to police practices, and these actions are clear steps in the direction of needed reform,” Gilchrist said in a statement. “We are not done, and we strongly encourage cities and counties to adopt and enact local measures that build trust, accountability, and a comprehensive, non-discriminatory experience of safety for everyone in our state.”

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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]
Photo “Michigan State Police” by Michigan State Police. 

 

 

 

 

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