Lt. Governor Zuckerman's Statement on Use of Force and Race Data Reporting Bills
Today the Senate voted unanimously to move two important law enforcement reform bills to third reading. “I’m pleased that the Senate has moved quickly on these important law enforcement reform efforts,” said Lt. Governor Zuckerman. “It is time for our laws to reflect our values. The BIPOC and allied communities have spoken, and this is a strong step towards long needed reforms. Limiting the use of force and holding our public safety officers accountable is required to rebuild trust in the system. Without that mutual respect and accountability, we have seen the system struggle and too many have died or been murdered without reason. This legislation will put Vermont out in front, but there is still more work to be done.”
S.119 is an act relating to law enforcement training on appropriate use of force, de-escalation tactics, and cross-cultural awareness.
The bill implements new guidelines for the use of force. The bill states: “Every person has a right to be free from excessive use of force by officers acting under authority of the State. Law enforcement officers may use deadly force only when necessary in defense of human life.”
It also says that law enforcement officers shall not use a prohibited restraint (use of any maneuver on a person that applies pressure to the neck, throat, windpipe, or carotid artery that may prevent or hinder breathing, reduces intake of air, or impedes the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain.) on a person for any reason. Law enforcement officers have a duty to intervene when the officer observes another officer using a prohibited restraint on a person.
S.219 Requires law enforcement to comply with race data reporting requirements in order to receive State grant funding. Police must gather race data from traffic stops and report the data, otherwise the law enforcement agency would not be eligible for state money.