Police accountability bill not passed at state capitol, sparks emotional reaction
BATON ROUGE- A police accountability bill, introduced amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, failed to pass at the state capitol today.
"I feel very disappointed, very hurt, very saddened, but this is a new experience for us and is something to learn from," an activist with BR For The People said.
There was an emotional reaction from local police reform activist groups who were in favor of House Bill 51.
The bill would end the qualified immunity defense that protects law enforcement from being sued, even if their actions are later determined to be a violation of constitutional rights.
It failed to pass at the state capitol today in a seven to nine vote.
"We definitely feel defeated, but we made a good bit of progress. This is just one step in the policymaking and voting process that we're trying to encourage our followers to support," an activist with BR For The People said.
The bill, written by representative Edmond Jordan, surfaced amid nationwide protests for greater police accountability.
It drew support from both democrats and republicans, but it wasn't enough.
"Qualified immunity allows officers who have violated their constituional rights to bascially get off. It allows them to have no punishment, no accountability no consequences for their actions. We think they need to be held accountable," Jordan said.
The Lousiana Sheriff's Association testified against the bill just before the vote was taken.
"We believe this bill is not the right way to bring accountability to police officers and first responders. We have grave concerns that the way the bill is written now could be interpreted to create absolute liability for first responders," a spokesperson with Louisiana Sheriff's Association said.
As calls for greater police accountability echo across the country to Louisiana, Representative Jordan says the fight for a just and fair community is far from over.
"We're going to keep fighting. This isn't the end it's only just the beginning. You're going to see something in the near future that's going to address this," Jordan said.
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