Massachusetts bill s2800 is troubling in so many ways. In essence, it will make an already difficult job even more dangerous for the men and women in law enforcement who serve our communities every day with honor and courage.
The following are the most dangerous sections of the bill:
In Section 55, this bill authorizes "any person" to "intervene" if they believe an officer's use of force is excessive. C’mon, how many times have we seen a YouTube video that looks bad, but was totally within compliance with state law and department policy? Now you’ll have a group of anti-police renegades attacking cops because they “believe” their force was excessive. This language will be exploited to attack cops and later used as a defense by anyone charged with resisting arrest or assaulting a police officer. This language will result in more cops being hurt and killed.
In Section 6, this bill the POSAC Committee is granted broad powers, including the power of subpoena during active criminal investigations. The language sets the groundwork for unconstitutional violations of a police officer's 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination (see Carney vs Springfield). It also violates several constitutional protections against "double-jeopardy".
In Section 10, qualified immunity protections are removed and replaced with a "no reasonable defendant" qualifier. This removes important liability protections essential for the police officers who patrol communities and often deal with some of the most dangerous of circumstances with little or no back-up. By removing qualified immunity protections, officers become vulnerable to personal liabilities just by preforming their duties. A kidnapping suspect doesn't like the way he was arrested? He doesn't like the way he was subdued by an officer after he fled? The fact that the officer behaved within policy, and by following Massachusetts law will not protect her if this bill passes. As I’ve written previously, qualified police recruits are already in limited supply. Adding this section will discourage good applicants from becoming interested in becoming cops.
Final note: this bill is being forced through the process without the normal and appropriate legislative process. Holding public hearings to accept testimony from citizens, and having a thoughtful debate is the right way to make legislation. The mob justification for speed tracking this bill is because of the "exigency of the matter". However, this debate was only sparked after a rogue criminal cop violated his oath 2000 miles away from the closest Massachusetts border.
It is inconceivable that Massachusetts congress would attempt this "sleight of hand" trick to rush a major change and done behind a smoke-screen of hurried "exigency".
Blog posts are written by Rob Disario and include opinion editorials about policing and private investigations. Other topics include tips and tricks to protect yourself, thoughts for today, new products and product reviews. Rob's opinions are his own which are protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and do not reflect any other entity, affiliation or person.