SAUGUS, MASS. (WHDH) – Protesters in vigils across Massachusetts called for the Legislature to push back against Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed changes to the police reform bill Saturday.
“This is something we’ve known has needed to be done for generations,” said the Rev. Bernadette Hickman-Maynard. “The legislature passed a good bill. It was a good start, not perfect, but it was good.”
Earlier this year the Legislature passed a bill that would impose new accountability standards on police. But since then, Baker has proposed several amendments and has said he’ll likely veto the bill if they’re not made.
Baker’s proposed changes include restoring police oversight of a training committee, imposing a firm timeframe to complete internal affairs investigations before they are handed over to independent investigators, and enhancing the study of facial recognition technology.
At vigils outside the homes of state leaders, protesters said Baker’s proposals were in the wrong direction.
“For far too long it’s been officers only policing police,” Hickman-Maynard said. “With facial recognition technology, it’s Black and brown people who are deserviced by it, who are being arrested falsely because of facial recognition.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for Baker said “Gov. Baker believes Massachusetts urgently needs accountability for all law enforcement officers. While he cannot support a final package that does not reflect today’s amendments, he is proud that Massachusetts is now closer than ever to enacting this important bill.”
Hickman-Maynard said leaders at the State House should ignore Baker’s threat and override any veto.
“We’re asking Speaker [Robert] DeLeo to bring it over the hump,” she said. “We’ve come too far to let it die, we’ve come too far to let it be gutted of its power.”
(Copyright (c) 2020 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)