More than a year after it was enacted and signed into law, there is a movement to reevaluate the Police Accountability Act. This comes as the wife of an injured police officer says it is partially to blame for his injuries.
Pinned between his police cruiser and a stolen vehicle, Farmington Police Officer James O’Donnell suffered multiple broken bones on September 20. This, while attempting to stop a person believed to be stealing catalytic converters. Now his wife is casting some blame in the direction of the Police Accountability Act.
On her Instagram, Kristen O’Donnell wrote, “Right now, I seem to be more impacted by the recent policing reform legislation than the writers themselves. Maybe these people should come tuck my kids in at night and tell them a story about how Mr. Policeman was (run) over by 'the guy who needed to be protected.'"
Connecticut's Police Accountability Act was passed into law in July 2020. Using social media, O’Donnell suggests the law limited her husband’s ability to protect himself. One state representative, who is also a police officer says this is a legitimate concern.
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“Officers are being suspended. They’re being terminated because the sign of the times or the current culture and they can’t do their job,” said state Rep. Greg Howard, R-Dist. 43.
O’Donnell, a three-year veteran, was getting out of his cruiser when the other driver sped off, striking him according to police. Posting about the incident, Kristen O’Donnell’s has used Instagram to further the discussion about the Police Accountability Act.
“I want everyone to reach out to me. I want discussions. I want transparency. I want people to know the significance of this bill. It needs to be changed,” she posted.
Some lawmakers, from both sides of the aisle, say they are willing to reevaluate.
“I think that if a law enforcement officer is telling us the pieces of that bill are preventing them from keeping our streets safe, we should definitely be listening to them.,” said Rep. Kerry Wood , D- Dist. 29.
The Police Accountability act was modified this past spring, where mandatory training of officers under the new accountability guidelines was delayed until January of 2022.