Bridgeport City Council to Pursue Cuts to Police Department in Response to Protester Demands

NBC Connecticut

The Bridgeport City Council is responding to protesters' demands for police reform and accountability with plans that include pulling funding from the police department in favor of social services.

In a resolution Tuesday after meeting with protesters, the council announced five key points of focus for the city including divesting in funding of the Bridgeport Police, an ordinance creating a citizen's advisory board for more overside of the department, a resolution calling for the removal of school resource officers from Bridgeport Public Schools, a call for the elimination of any gang databases, and a call to demilitarize the police department.

The city council held a public hearing on June 18 to hear concerns about the police department and ideas for reform.

The resolution did not lay out detailed plans on how much police department funding would be reduced or exactly where it would be redirected.

The council will also call for the passage of state legislative reforms, including modifying conditions where a police offer can legally use deadly force, requiring officers to have clear identification on all uniforms, an independent oversight board for investigation and prosecution of police, requirements for officers to intervene if they observe excessive force, and the creation of whistleblower protections for law enforcement who report misconduct, excessive force or unethical behavior by others.

Like many cities across the country, Bridgeport has seen protesters march in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a white police officer held his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

Demonstrators Hold a Camp-In at Bridgeport Police Headquarters

Members of the Justice for Jayson Coalition, a group named in response to the shooting of 15-year-old Jayson Negron by a rookie Bridgeport police officer during a traffic stop in 2017, has camped outside of Bridgeport's Police Department, calling for change.

The group said their aim is to demand justice for Black and Hispanic communities.

The group believes that Bridgeport has one of the most violent police forces in the state and the only way to stop the violence is by "moving toward their abolition."

Below is the list of demands protesters shared with NBC Connecticut.

NBC Connecticut has reached out to the Bridgeport Police Department and mayor's office for comment on the council resolution.

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