See draft language for three bills – designed to enhance police accountability – introduced into Oregon’s Senate Judiciary Committee in 2013. Six members of the legislature signed as co-sponsors to language introduced on Jo Ann’s behalf, prior to the start of the session.
Be It Enacted, by the People of the State of Oregon:
- Senate Bill 779 – (Checks and Balances) Requires Oregon’s Attorney General to appoint a lead investigator when police use deadly physical force. To try the case, the AG shall appoint an attorney not employed by the office of the district attorney in the county in which the incident occurred.
- Senate Bill 780 – (Transparency) Grand Jury proceedings must be on the record and recorded if the proceeding has been convened to examine the use of deadly force by a police officer that resulted in the death of a person. The district attorney shall make the transcript available for review by the public in an electronic format on the Internet.
- Senate Bill 781 – (Accountability) Changes standard for use of deadly force from officer’s reasonable belief to what a reasonable person in that officer’s circumstances would believe.
The Senate Judiciary Committee conducted a hearing on these bills on 13 March. Chair Floyd Prozanski must schedule a work session before they can move to the Senate floor.
UPDATE: Cloistered Senate Democrats ordered SB780 back to Judiciary without a vote. More here.
UPDATE: Dec. 2013 – Wisconsin considers legislative language calling for independent investigations into police shootings. See more on House Bill 409 here. Inspired by a campaign to obtain justice for Michael E. Bell, here.
UPDATE: Apr. 2014 – Wisconsin passes legislation requiring outside investigation when people die in police custody — the first of its kind in the nation. Michael Bell, Sr., spending 10 years and a million dollars, inspires us to continue long-term efforts to reform police self-exoneration in Oregon.