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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Lawmaker seeks investigations into police use-of-force incidents



From the News Service of Florida:

Sen. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, on Tuesday called for the passage of a bill (SB 810) that would require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate all police use-of-force incidents that lead to deaths or serious injuries.

In such instances, she said, FDLE "would be called in to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation."

Thompson, who held a news conference at the Capitol, pointed to recent national and Florida incidents --- including the October death of Corey Jones, a 31-year-old Boynton Beach man who was shot by a plainclothes Palm Beach Gardens police officer.

"Disproportionately, the victims of the use of force … are African American," Thompson said.

She also said law enforcement agencies investigate their own use-of-force incidents and are not required to report them to FDLE. Under her bill, that would change.

"This would increase public confidence in investigations," she said.

Thompson was joined by Dale Landry, vice president of the Florida branch of the NAACP, and James Golden, an official of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Her bill faces four committees, while the House companion (HB 933), filed by Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, faces three.

Neither has gotten a hearing. In the wake of Corey Jones' death, members of the black legislative caucus also called for legislation that would require body cameras for law-enforcement officers, dashboard cameras for police vehicles and automatic reviews of all police-related shootings.

[Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 3:33pm]


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