Smith applauds bill advancing IBLC priorities

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – Today, State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) highlighted the importance of House Bill 1006 to the agenda of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC). The bill passed through the House with unanimous support.

“It is encouraging, with so much division today, that there is something that we all seem to agree on,” Smith said. “After the tragedies seen over the past years across the nation and just beyond the walls of our Statehouse, the IBLC has worked hard to craft an agenda to face these challenges. I am glad our colleagues across the aisle have joined us in this next step.”

The bipartisan bill would establish a mandatory de-escalation training for law enforcement officers at every career stage, establish procedures to decertify officers who commit misconduct, limit the use of chokeholds, require the transfer of employment records between agencies and make the turning off of a bodycam to conceal a crime a Class A misdemeanor.

“The progress we see in this bill is wonderful. However, we cannot pretend that it is enough. For example, the bill as it stands today limits, but still allows, chokeholds. I believe we need a total ban, they have no place in law enforcement. We've all seen too many times how dangerous they are.”

Impeding blood flow to the brain, chokeholds are designed to render a person unconscious for a brief period of time. Misapplication of such a restraint can lead to serious injury or even death, as seen in many high profile instances of police misconduct, including the death of George Floyd. They are banned by many of the nation's largest police forces, but remain legal in Indiana.

“This is a good step in a mission that began many years ago towards a destination far too long delayed. Hoosiers are demanding action. For now, it seems we're answering. But we must be sure to answer tomorrow as well, and every day after that, until we finally achieve liberty and justice for all Hoosiers.”

The full IBLC agenda can be seen here: https://assets.indianahousedemocrats.org/members/Publications/iblc2021agenda.pdf.

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