New Mexico state senator introduces sweeping police reform bill News
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New Mexico state senator introduces sweeping police reform bill

New Mexico state senator Linda Lopez introduced leglsiation Monday that includes sweeping police reform.

According to Mapping Police Violence, New Mexico had the highest rate of police killings per one million people between January 2013 and December 2019. Senate Bill 227 would impose stricter restrictions on when officers can use deadly force:

A law enforcement officer shall not use deadly physical force upon another person unless it is used as a last resort, after the officer has exhausted de-escalation tactics and techniques and, based on the totality of the circumstances, such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious physical injury to an identifiable person and the amount of force used is proportional to the threat of imminent harm to an identifiable person.

SB227 would also:

  • Forbid the use of chokeholds, tear gas, rubber bullets, and intentional dog bites;
  • Ban no-knock warrants;
  • Create a “duty to intervene” should an officer witness a colleague use force unlawfully;
  • Mandate the creation of a protocol to report and track officer-involved injuries and deaths.

Police reforms entered the national spotlight over the summer amid massive protests following the highly-publicized police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Members of New Mexico’s House of Representatives introduced legislation to address police violence in June 2020, but their bill failed to leave committee.

With the introduction of SB 227, Lopez joins state officials and activists across the country who continue to push for police reform. In January lawmakers in Illinois passed a sweeping criminal justice reform bill, eliminating cash bail and banning chokeholds. The same month, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh created an independent review board for police misconduct allegations.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico has expressed support for SB227 bill and its mission.