Proposed police reform study called racist, Floyd reference removed
BATON ROUGE - A resolution passed in the House and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday that sets up a review of law enforcement and policing. The resolution asks to assemble a study group to take a look at law enforcement and ensure fairness and justice are being practiced.
It's something Rep. Ted James (D-Baton Rouge) says he's been thinking about doing since 2016. And with the recent death of George Floyd, he says now is the time to put legislation in writing.
"There's so much we can do in terms of addressing the systemic problems of racism over policing, excessive force in law enforcement," James said.
The study would look at law enforcement training by department.
"We've got to make sure that we have uniform use of force policies throughout all of our departments. You know, BRPD could be doing one thing but that doesn't mean it's happening in Carencro," James said.
At the committee meeting, James said not all members were comfortable with the language used in the original resolution, which addressed the death of George Floyd and "the deaths of black men at the hands of white police officers."
Instead, multiple representatives spoke out to remove that portion of the resolution, saying it was "offensive."
"I've never seen a more racist document than the one you brought, because we don't feel that way here," said Rep. Dodie Horton (R-Bossier).
After discussion, a portion of the resolution was deleted and amended to be race and gender-neutral.
The study group would be made up of various legislators, stakeholders, and law enforcement. James says he's focused on getting to the work.
"The death of George Floyd and the anger and the energy you see not just in Baton Rouge but across our country, I don't want that to die down. So we need to start doing the work now," he said.
The measure will be debated next. A similar resolution by Sen. Cleo Fields (D-Baton Rouge) is being discussed in the Senate.