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We passed new laws to increase transparency and accountability in policing

Oregon has been a progressive leader in many fights – gun safety, reproductive rights, and environmental protections – but we have a grim history of racism that can't be ignored. And it's long overdue that we confront our history and move forward to protect all Oregonians.

During this past week's special session, the legislature passed six measures to advance equity and fight institutional racism in Oregon.

These new laws take crucial and long-overdue first steps to end indefensible structural violence against indigenous peoples, those of Asian descent, Latinx and Black Oregonians:

  • The first bans the use of chokeholds, except when the use of deadly force is justified.

  • The second restricts the use of tear gas and requires police to give people time to disperse before using it.

  • The third will strengthen disciplinary action against officers who break the rules by making it much more difficult for third-party arbitrators to overturn or reduce consequences.

  • The fourth creates a public statewide online database of disciplinary actions, suspensions, and revocations of certifications of police officers. Law enforcement agencies must check this database as part of their hiring process.

  • The fifth requires officers to intervene to prevent or stop another officer engaged in misconduct.

  • And finally, we ensured that our work will continue. We created an ongoing work group to propose further reforms to improve police transparency and reduce the use of physical force by law enforcement.

Without transparency and accountability, we will not see different results in our communities. I'm proud to stand with the POC Caucus as we work to undo the racist history of Oregon, end police brutality, and ensure our laws make clear that Black Lives Matter.


PS: We've identified a group of organizations doing great frontline work on policing reform. Read more about them here, and chip in to support the movement!

Posted on June 28, 2020.