LANSING, Mich., March 16, 2021 — State Rep. Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit) has introduced bills to improve policing and build better public trust in law enforcement. The legislation would provide more scrutiny and greater transparency into police misconduct records and use-of-force incidents.
“The sweeping, nationwide examples of systemic racism perpetuated at the hands of law enforcement have unfortunately not spared the Black and Brown folks of Michigan,” said Carter. “The people of Michigan demand action to change the status quo. Opening police disciplinary files and reporting use-of-force data are two common-sense steps we can take right now to hold bad cops accountable and make our communities safer.”
A loophole in Michigan’s Freedom of Information (FOIA) statute shields police misconduct records from the public. House Bill 4291 would amend the law to make certain law enforcement disciplinary files subject to FOIA requests. Personal information like social security numbers, addresses, cell phone data and medical records would still be protected.
Last summer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced several police reform recommendations including better reporting on use of force. House Bill 4292 would establish a statewide Uniform Use of Force Report (UUFR), creating a comprehensive system for annual reporting of lethal and non-lethal police use-of-force incidents. UUFR data would be used for planning, resource allocation, legislative action and police operation assessments. The compiled information would help address systemic issues and concerns associated with police use of force.
Carter, a 25-year veteran of the Wayne County Sheriff’s department, said his bills are about defending, not defunding:
“Defending the life, liberty and property of the people from governmental abuse,” said Carter. “Defending the rule of law against the arbitrary use of power. And, defending the overwhelming majority of our law enforcement officers who, day after day, put their lives on the line to protect and serve our communities.”
The bills have been referred to the House Committee on Government Operations.
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