Below is my electronic testimony regarding bill S2820:

 

Dear Chair Michlewitz and Chair Cronin,

I am looking forward to addressing police misconduct, addressing racial discrimination, and bringing more justice into our criminal justice system.  This is a timely and important topic and I am pleased that Speaker DeLeo has made addressing it one of the top priorities of the House.

I come to this issue as former prosecutor, a litigator who has prosecuted and defended civil rights cases, and has worked extensively as an employment lawyer working representing employees and employers in the public and private sectors, often involving accusations of discrimination.

First, I fully support the Black and Latino Caucus’ publicly stated priorities, particularly the banning of certain police tactics such as chokeholds, no knock warrants, and use of tear gas as well as the banning of the use of face recognition technology. None of these tactics should not be used on civilians at all in our state. I hope we can address all of them.

Second, I also wanted to add some specific comments on the S.2820.  One of the most important issues to address accountability is to create the licensing provisions for police that the Senate proposed.  The licensing of police officers, which is separate from whether a department can hire them, retain them, or discipline them, by a separate state entity with full powers to investigate is one of the best ways that we can make police more accountable.

I support repealing and replacing the qualified immunity standard as the Senate proposed.  I was proud to vote for a similar proposal out of the Judiciary Committee this year and watch that bill advance through the House.  This change will allow some victims who cannot recover for a constitutional violation to recover.  Because all or almost all police are indemnified in Massachusetts, I do not view this as a police accountability issue.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Jay Livingstone

State Representative

8th Suffolk District

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