McKnight proposing statewide use of force policy updates, requiring civilian complaint review boards

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Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) is proposing a bill that would require all New Jersey law enforcement agencies to update their use of force policies, as well as requiring a civilian complaint review board in each municipality.

Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31). Twitter photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“George Floyd is unfortunately just one horrifying tragedy in a long, long line of lives lost to senseless violence. His is not the first case that we’ve seen recorded by a cell phone video or played through the media, but I want to do all I can to make sure his death is not in vain and that we make sweeping changes to end excessive use of force by police officers,” McKnight said in a statement.

Her legislation proposed is the first step to clarifying guidelines of what can and what  cannot be done by police while interacting with the community.

“Putting guidelines in place to regulate use of force is just one major pillar of the holistic police reform necessary to improve police and community relations in the Black community. I also encourage local government leaders to re-evaluate their budgets as it relates to reallocating funding to critical community and social services,” McKnight continued.

“It will take a collaborative effort from the local, state and federal levels to bring about comprehensive change in the wake of the death of George Floyd and so many other Black lives that have been lost around the country at the hands of police officers, and I welcome all stakeholders to the table.”

McKnight, the chair of the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, is also proposing a resolution to condemn police brutality.

Jersey City hosted four peaceful protests last week, two specifically against George Floyd’s murder and two against police brutality.

A civilian complaint review board has been proposed for Jersey City, which Mayor Steven Fulop says that he supports, though isn’t interested in forming a CCRB until pending litigation in Newark is resolved.

For the time being, Council President Joyce Watterman is introducing a resolution this week in hopes of forming an ad hoc police committee that includes both council and community members, where their prime function would be to review and reform police procedures.