Councilman John J. Igliozzi, Esq. (Ward 7) today announced the launch of an online petition asking the Governor and the General Assembly to repeal Rhode Island General Law 42-28.6 titled Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR). Individuals looking to sign the petition can do so here: https://bit.ly/PVDWARD7.
“Last week, after receiving over 2,000 emails from residents asking the City Council to defund the police, I held a Committee on Finance meeting where I invited community advocates, members of the City Council, the Commissioner and the Chief of Police, as well as the President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to appear for a discussion on the Police Department’s budget and the concerns that the community shared via email,” stated Chairman on the Committee on Finance John J. Igliozzi, Esq. “The conversation came out of the community’s deep pain over the atrocities that have occurred in recent weeks but have been ongoing for centuries. One of the things that I heard from this conversation was that Rhode Island is one of 12 states to have a Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, and our state law is one of the most restrictive. I believe that if we are going to have real change in our police and community relations, we need to start here. If there is a bad apple, we don’t want it to spoil the whole bunch, and LEOBR prevents us from making a real change when we have officers that are accused of violence.”
During the Committee on Finance meeting that was held on June 10, 2020, Deputy Majority Leader Mary Kay Harris asked, “If Mr. Floyd’s life would have been taken here, would our Chief had the opportunity to call for the police officer to be fired?” Commissioner of Public Safety Steven Paré stated, “Under our LEOBR the answer is no. We would not be able to fire, which to me, means to terminate from employment, benefits, and everything. And even after the act was committed, we would have to wait until that individual was indicted, and that means getting an indictment, a charge, out of a grand jury since it’s a capital offense and a homicide. We wouldn’t be able to stop his salary until we get an indictment from the grand jury, and then we stop his salary, and his benefits continue until he’s convicted of that crime, and then we stop his benefits…”
“It was clear from Commissioner Paré that one of the biggest hurdles they face is the state’s LEOBR law. If we can repeal that and hold bad actors accountable, we could potentially save a life. I think that’s a worthy pursuit and why I’m launching the petition, and I hope that we can work together as a City and State to make a better community for all of our residents.”
The petition will be forwarded to Governor Gina Raimondo, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, and Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, and the members of the Rhode Island General Assembly.