Lawmakers unveil police reform compromise after months of secret negotiations

By Matt Stout | Globe Staff

Updated November 30 @10:30PM

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“Massachusetts legislative leaders said Monday they reached an agreement on “landmark” policing legislation that would create a new system for holding officers accountable, including stripping them of legal protections in some cases of misconduct…Ultimately, they agreed to create a Massachusetts Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, a nine-member group that would serve as the state’s primary civil enforcement agency, with the power to certify officers for the first time in state history, oversee investigations into officer misconduct, and rescind an officers’ license.

The so-called POST commission could strip an officer’s certification if he or she is convicted of a felony, “knowingly” files a police report with false information, or uses deadly excessive force, among other examples of misconduct.

The bill also would ban choke holds, set new limits on so-called no-knock warrants, and codify standards of use of force. Tear gas or rubber bullets could be used only if de-escalation tactics have failed or are not “feasible” and officers are trying to prevent “imminent harm,” according to the bill.

In a statement Monday, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Senate President Karen E. Spilka touted the bill as “one of the most comprehensive approaches to police reform and racial justice in the United States since the tragic murder of George Floyd,” a Black man who died as a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck in May.”