Progress! The “duty to intervene” should not even be necessary, but, sadly, it is. Officers must know to do the right thing.

Excerpts from the Article:

New Castle County Council unanimously passed two police reforms Tuesday night after delaying them earlier this month. Many described the measures as just the beginning.

One ordinance bans the use of chokeholds by New Castle County police —except when an officer decides deadly force is necessary. The second requires officers to try to intervene when another uses excessive force, or face punishment as if they used excessive force themselves. Between Tuesday’s meeting and the previous one, primary sponsor Councilman Dave Carter modified the ordinances to clarify language and add training for use of chokeholds.

Carter said the tweaks were made in consultation with New Castle County Police Chief Col. Vaughn Bond, Jr. Carter mentioned during an interview last week that in the course of discussions, he modified the original duty-to-intervene draft to prevent punishment of officers who make a “good faith effort” but are unsuccessful in stopping excessive force.

“No one should be afraid that the police is going to beat them up because of the color of their skin, and that’s exactly what’s going on, and everybody knows it,” he said. “Delaware is part of these United States of America, and New Castle County is a part of Delaware. There’s nothing so privileged and great about Delaware.”

Mike Brickner of the ACLU of Delaware called them “preliminary commonsense changes that need to happen.”

“Really the key to establishing good police relations is trust,” he said. “And what we’re hearing right now is that a lot of folks in the community don’t trust policing right now. And that’s going to take a very long time and a lot of hard work to undo, but these ordinances are I think concrete steps to helping to build that.”

Ordinances have been introduced that would redirect funds from the New Castle County police salaries and benefits budget toward community initiatives supporting racial justice— and that would limit the release of information about arrested juveniles, including mugshots.

Council does not meet again until late August.


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