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Mass. Lawmakers Reach Agreement On Police Reform Bill

BOSTON (CBS) – After months of negotiations, Massachusetts state lawmakers have reached an agreement on a major police reform bill. It comes after months of protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis.

The legislation creates an independent commission to standardize the certification, training and decertification of police officers, bans the use of chokeholds and limits the use of deadly force. It also creates a duty to intervene for police officers who witness another officer using force beyond what is necessary.

A statement from House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Karen Spilka Monday night said, "The compromise reached, which is intentional in bringing better transparency and accountability to policing in Massachusetts, represents one of the most comprehensive approaches to police reform and racial justice in the United States since the tragic murder of George Floyd."

The bill also includes provisions that would review the Civil Service system and study the presence of institutional racism in the criminal justice system.

The State Police Association of Massachusetts issued a statement late Monday night saying they welcome "reform that will actually improve policing; unfortunately, this legislation misses the mark."

"The bill creates layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and costly commissions staffed by political appointees with no real world experience in policing and the dangers officers face every day. We urge the members of the Legislature to reject this bill and begin anew in 2021," the group said.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill Tuesday afternoon.

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