Pritzker signs police reform bill into law over law enforcement objections

National

CHICAGO, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a 764-page police reform bill into law at a press conference in Chicago on Monday, claiming the proposal would “dismantle systemic racism.”

The new proposal would end cash bail, require all police to eventually wear and use body cameras, restrict police from the use of force, and require more transparency and accountability for officers who do engage in the use of force when detaining a suspect.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus celebrated the passage of the new law, claiming it turned the summer of “protest into progress.”

A coalition of sheriffs, state troopers, and police unions issued a joint statement, saying, “Governor Pritzker chose to listen to a few strident political voices rather than the 120,000 petition signing citizens who plainly saw the bill for what it is.”

“Because we are sworn to protect and serve the public, we sincerely hope that we will not be proven right about this new law, that it won’t cause police officers to leave the profession in droves and handcuff those who remain so they can’t stop crimes against people and property,” the statement said.

Rep. Sonya Harper (D-Chicago ) said the measure would “reverse the negative effects of mass incarceration,” and “drive a dent in systemic racism in Illinois.”

House Democrat Justin Slaughter (D-Chicago) explained cash bail would remain in place until January 1st, 2023, and acknowledged he and other legislators would continue to negotiate with law enforcement agencies to “clean up” or address concerns in new legislation.

“The work, the collaboration, must continue to iron out to iron out these kinks,” Slaughter said.

Dave Parsons, a 24-year veteran officer with the Mahomet police department who joined the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police asked, “Why would you write a bill that has problems to start with?”

Parsons said the measure restricts police from pursuing or apprehending suspects who may be trespassing on private property.

“You asked them to leave, they don’t leave, you call the police,” Parsons said. “We’d say, ‘Hey, you need to leave.’ They won’t. The best we can do is issue a summons to appear later. And they could stay right there and continue doing what they’re doing illegally, and we cannot do a single thing about it. It’s just not safe for the public.”

What the new police reform law does:

  • Requires police to wear and use body cameras by January 1st, 2025
  • Restricts police use of force only to instances that protect human life
  • Requires officers to report when colleagues use force without justification
  • Restricts officers from pursuing a suspect if they can be reasonably apprehended at a later date
  • Restricts officers from detaining suspects accused of Class B or C misdemeanors
  • Allows anonymous complaints against police officers

What the new police reform law does not do:

  • End qualified immunity
  • Defund police departments or local governments for refusing to wear body cameras
  • Weaken collective bargaining power for police unions

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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