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Sheriff deputies stand guard as protesters walk past during the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida is one of the few states that moved to both expand police authority and pass police reforms in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, per the AP.

What happened so far: The Legislature this session passed a so-called "anti-riot" bill that ups penalties for crimes committed during protests, and also a police reform bill.

Where it stands: HB 7051, the reform action backed by the Florida Legislative Black Caucus but not yet signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, would among other things:

  • Set limits on, but not ban, use of chokeholds.
  • Require an officer who observes another officer engaging in excessive use of force to intervene.
  • Establish a duty to render aid to a person in custody who is injured by an officer’s use of force.
  • Require a commission to establish standards for police training in use of force, and require agencies to develop policies in proportional use of force and de-escalation techniques.
  • Require independent reviews of officers’ use of force resulting in a death or the intentional firing of a firearm resulting in injury or death.

Another big thing: The law would also require agencies to report use-of-force incidents that result in serious bodily injury, death, or the discharge of a firearm at a person.

  • No central agency keeps track of police shootings in our state, where the Tampa Bay Times found that an average of 138 people are shot by police each year.
  • Complicating things: A state appeals court ruled recently that the names of police officers who shoot citizens cannot be made public if the officers themselves are crime victims, which is almost always the case in such incidents.

The local angle: Tampa City Council members voted 4-3 last week on a compromise to equally share appointments to an 11-member police oversight board with Mayor Jane Castor, while leaving one seat open for the NAACP to nominate a member.

  • That means the council gets 5 picks, the mayor gets 5 picks and the NAACP gets one pick.
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Go deeper

Sep 20, 2021 - Axios Tampa Bay

Mayor makes changes to controversial eviction program

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Just four days after the Tampa Bay Times released an investigation of a controversial Tampa Police Department program, Mayor Jane Castor announced reforms to it.

The investigation: Journalists Chris O'Donnell and Ian Hodgson reported that a TPD program started under former police chief and current mayor Castor urged landlords to evict hundreds of mostly Black tenants after arrests.

  • But families still were evicted even after charges were dropped.
  • The story leads with a family who was evicted after a 16-year-old stole $4.44 in change, a glove, a flashlight, a hoodie and wireless headphones.
  • The program, intended for "documented violent offenders, gang members or career criminals," led to the eviction.

Minneapolis mayoral hopefuls weigh in on future of police department

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

What the Minneapolis Police Department should look like in the future is a huge topic in the city's mayoral race.

State of play: The public safety charter amendment on the ballot would do away with the current minimum officer requirement and replace MPD with a new public safety agency that could include sworn officers "if necessary."

  • If the amendment passes, many details of that new department will be decided by the next mayor and City Council.

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."