While some states have pushed back on policing reform following the death of George Floyd and the conviction of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin for his murder last summer, other states appear to be finally coming through with the much-needed reform measures.
CNN’s Keith Allen, Brad Parks and Devan Cole reported, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers approved a series of policing reform bills “including a ban on the use of chokeholds by officers except in life-threatening situations.”
In a statement following the passage and signing of the reform policy on Tuesday, June 22, Evers said, “these bills are part of a package of bipartisan policing changes and are only a step toward making meaningful progress for a more just, more equitable and safer state for everyone.”
According to CNN, the changes Evers approved include “a measure requiring the Wisconsin Department of Justice to collect data and publish an annual report on police use-of-force incidents. The governor also signed a bill establishing a $600,000 grant program for cities with 60,000 or more people to fund community-oriented policing programs, as well as a bill requiring public access to law enforcement use-of-force policies.”
Evers originally called for many of these reforms late last summer following the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times by a white officer after police were called to assist with a domestic disturbance.
When lawmakers tried to end last year’s session without making progress on the case, Evers insisted they begin a special session to tackle the problem.
“The people of Wisconsin are demanding systemic change and reform in our state,” he said at the time. “They must be heard. And that means there is much more work left to do.”
Following the passage of the police reform bills in his state — which ultimately still took a year to complete — Evers also acknowledged just how much work people in Wisconsin and across the U.S. still must do to address police violence.
“Today is not the end,” Evers said. “It has to be the beginning.”