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Illinois Police Reform Law Bans Chokeholds, Requires Body Cameras

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A bipartisan effort to reform law enforcement practices has passed the Illinois state legislatures and was signed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Police and Community Improvement Act consists of 200 separate pieces of legislation and spans 174 pages. On Aug. 12, Rauner signed the measure into law after both state legislatures, controlled by Democrats, easily supported the measure.

Law enforcement will now be banned from using chokeholds in potentially violent situations, save for when deadly force is necessary, reported. Under Illinois law, deadly force is considered when seven or more officers are needed to defend themselves or another person, or to protect someone’s belongings.

The law also adds racial sensitivity requirements that will force officers to undergo additional training to better suit the community.

While body cameras will not be required under the law, the length of time that they should be worn, when they are supposed to be turned on, and how long the state must keep recorded videos for legal reasons is not up for debate. Cameras must be turned on 30 seconds before an interaction with a member of the public, able to continue recording for up to 10 hours and be turned on when an officer is responding to a complaint, Business Insider noted.

Recordings will be saved up to 90 days in the state’s possession after an incident took place. This will give all Illinois residents time to file a complaint, have it processed and proceed with legal action if necessary.

To pay for body cameras and additional reforms, a $5 increase in traffic fines will fund grants to pay for the additional equipment and training. Officers will be required to give their name and badge number when they pull over a suspect.

The law will not take effect until January 2016. The Illinois law follows those of Connecticut and Colorado which implemented similar reforms at reducing police confrontations that lead to death. The cases of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York exemplified the miscommunications between law enforcement and members of the community.

Sources: Business Insider, / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons


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