Connecticut Lawyers and Legislators Debate Costs and Benefits as Policing Bill is Signed into Law

On Thursday Governor Ned Lamont signed into law “An Act Concerning Police Accountability,” after two late nights of debate in the House and the Senate.

The legislation includes more than 40 substantive changes to policing in Connecticut, from new requirements regarding the use of lethal force to provisions for allowing civilian review boards on the municipal level, but the public debate and politics surrounding the bill has nevertheless focused overwhelmingly on Section 41 of the bill, which addresses the issue of qualified immunity for police officers. 

Proponents of the bill, including State Rep. Steven Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, and State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, explain the provision as a tweak that will remove protections in court for only the worst offenders, police officers who have acted in a willful, wanton or malicious manner.

“It would be slightly easier for civil lawsuits to proceed against an officer,” said Stafstrom on the floor of the House on Thursday, July 23. Read more