Police Accountability

Rallies Before Lawmakers Debate Police Reforms

On Thursday lawmakers will gavel in a Special Session which will start in the House.

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The governor laid out several things for them to tackle, including some related to the pandemic and the current national police protests.

There were some heated moments as dueling groups rallied at Mill Pond Park in Newington on Wednesday.

On one side: people holding signs saying Black Lives Matter and calling for reforms to police.

“Police brutality is a big issue but my whole thing is education as a whole. Like my sign says, racism is the uneducated response to fear,” said Jamal Kennedy of Bloomfield.

On the other side: people with signs supporting police and they were hoping to show they have officers’ backs.

“You got to have police out here on the streets or you got a big problem,” said Henry Charland of Newington.

Many here are also focused on what’s happening at the State Capitol as lawmakers consider a police accountability bill.

Part of the debate is over ending a concept called qualified immunity, which protects officers from lawsuits.

“I think a police officer, something that I consider one the highest responsibilities in this nation, should also be held to very high standards,” said Taylor Dempsey of Newington.

 “There will be lawsuits left and right if this bill goes through. We need to stop that,” said Michael Camillo of Newington.

Besides the police bill, an upcoming Special Session is also expected to tackle expanding absentee voting because of the pandemic, increasing the availability of telehealth and capping the cost of insulin.

But for many the police issue is one of the most contentious.

“Common sense. I just want people accountable for their actions,” said Dempsey.

“It’s important for me to be here just to support the police,” said Nancy St. Laurent of New Britain.

Members of law enforcement from across the state are expected to rally against the police accountability bill on Thursday.

That will take place just before the Special Session gets underway in the House.

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