Skubick: Family of Breonna Taylor visits Michigan to support police reform bill package

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) -In the wake George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests, Michigan House Democrats have introduced a 16 bill package to address police brutality and racial disparities in law enforcement.  

At the same time, a Republican lawmaker contends the Democratic proposal is an over reaction to national events.

“In no way shape or form are we saying that all police officers are bad. We know there are a few bad apples,” said State Representative Tenisha Yancy (D-Harper Woods)

The bills aim to ban choke holds, no knock warrants, order the police to use body cameras, and permit citizens to sue police officers who use “excessive force” which produced this statistic:

“Over 1,021 persons were killed at the hands of police officers and only 16 officers were convicted. that’s one percent,” said Rep. Felicia Brabec (D-Ann Arbor.)

Also attending the press conference were relatives of Breonna Taylor, who make the case for these proposed changes.

“We ask Michigan politicians to consider these bills to get us back to normal. normal does not exist anymore,” said Tawanna Gordon, Breonna Taylor’s cousin.

The Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee Graham Filler counters that choke holds are not taught in Michigan, and suing police officers will discourage those who want to join.

He calls the package “an overreaction to national events.”

“When one or two to three bad instances sort of “define law enforcement” to a national and state audience, thank I think we’ve really lost perspective. Making snap legislation based on a couple bad instances is a bad idea,” he said.

Filler says he doesn’t believe police brutality in Michigan is a problem.

Rep. Yancy reports the two GOP legislative leaders like some elements of the package but not all of them, so a bi-partisan vote on the 16 bills is not apparent today.  

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