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Gov. Whitmer announces police reform proposals, including ban on chokeholds

The plan includes policy changes like classifying false, racially motivated 911 calls as a hate crime.
Credit: State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan's Democratric governor on Monday released a plan for police reform in the state identifying changes in policy, personnel, community engagement and prevention and accountability. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this month called for enhanced police training and policies in response to the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the two were killed during interactions with Minneapolis and Louisville police, respectively. 

Her plan released on June 29 proposes policy changes including a ban on chokeholds and the classification of false, racially motivated 911 calls as a hate crime. Whitmer also wants to further limit the use of no-knock warrants, the circumstances under which Taylor was killed while sleeping in her apartment.

Whitmer's proposal would require in-service training for all licensed law enforcement officers to maintain their license, and give the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) the ability to audit agencies to ensure they are accurately reporting law violations and improper use of force. MCOLES would also be able to establish penalties for non-complying agencies. 

The governor also wants to create incentive programs for law enforcement agencies to hire and retain officers who live in their own community. By law, Michigan officers are not required to serve in the community they live in. 

According to the press release detailing the plan, the Whitmer administration also intends on investing in programming that connects local police to community leaders and expanding existing programs that work to break down barriers between law enforcement and residents. 

The plan does not explicitly call for the defunding of police departments, which is something activist groups across the state have called for as a means to end police brutality. 

In a June 9 interview with The Root, Whitmer said she supported the spirit of the movement to defund the police. 

"The spirit as you just articulated is really just about reprioritizing and rebuilding communities, not just policing,” Whitmer said when asked about her thoughts on the movement. "This is really about where do we prioritize our resources."

Whitmer said more money needs to be invested in things that will rebuild communities like education, public transportation and access to health care. 

“If you do all those other things, you don’t need all the money going to the police departments,” she said. “So yeah, the spirit of it, I do support that spirit.”

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