The Derek Chauvin guilty verdict has local lawmakers once again discussing criminal justice reform and change in Michigan.
“I’m grateful that the jury decided the way that they did. I didn’t feel joy or anything. I mostly felt, like okay, let’s get back to work. We have a lot of work to do,” said Michigan Sen. Stephanie Chang on the verdict.
Chang said the work is a statewide criminal justice reform bill but so far there’s been little progress.
“In Michigan, particularly, we haven’t done really anything hardly to address this issue,” Chang said.
Chang said there was some discussion, when George Floyd died, but that’s about it. Now, there’s momentum, “I’m really excited to be working with Senator Roger Victory, who’s a Republican.”
The reform bill would look into police training, the use of force policy, describing what type of force is accepted and what happens if there’s a violation. Oversight will also be apart of the bill as well as police accountability.
“When an officer uses excessive force and if that causes death or serious injuries, than what should be the ramifications for that officer? I recognize this is going to be a long-term effort and changes through policy will make a difference,” Chang said.
The Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Office released a statement that reads:
”After the tragic deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Gov. Whitmer immediately got to work with our state’s top community leaders and law enforcement officials to improve policing in a way that creates a more just and equitable law enforcement system. The governor quickly implemented short-term reform, like requesting the Michigan Commission of Law Enforcement Standards to develop diversity and implicit bias training for officers, and introduced a long-term proposal for comprehensive reform.
“As our nation is renewing the calls for changes to police practices, Governor Whitmer is hopeful the legislature will work with her to reach agreement on commonsense reforms that will build a better system of trust and accountability.”