Feb 1, 2023 - Politics

Police reform talk returns to Legislature after Tyre Nichols' killing

Michigan Capitol

Michigan Capitol. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

Michigan's Legislative Black Caucus said yesterday that it wants to see lawmakers pass police reform bills following the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man​ who died days after Memphis police severely beat him.

Driving the news: A number of bipartisan proposals were introduced last session following the death of Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids, but never made it to a vote.

  • "Change must be made, not lip service," said Rep. Amos O'Neal (D-Saginaw), who asked the room to give a moment of silence for Nichols' family.

Details: A 12-bill package introduced last year includes banning no-knock warrants, chokeholds, establishing new procedures for investigating misconduct incidents and allowing an officer's license to be revoked if it is determined they used excessive force.

Zoom in: In a statement yesterday, City Council president Mary Sheffield said she wants to pass a law in Detroit requiring officers to intervene when a fellow officer is using excessive force.

What they're saying: "That could've been me, that could've been my younger brother, that could've been my 1-year-old son," said 30-year-old Rep. Donavan McKinney (D-Detroit).

  • McKinney said he fears for his safety while driving up to Lansing from Detroit. "This badge on my hip doesn't matter, the title you hold, the education you received … We're telling our Black boys and girls 'Don't wear your hoodie, be presentable' … But that's not enough …"

What's next: Lawmakers need to reintroduce the package to send bills through the Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit).

  • Chang tells Axios that lawmakers "are going to take a look at the bills and see what revisions need to be made and get together with the various state and national groups we've been working with."
  • Chang says they plan to circle around with law enforcement groups and prosecutors as they did last term.

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