FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Broward County prosecutor’s eight-part proposal to change police policy is stirring controversy, mostly revolving around the use of body cameras and allegations of excessive force.
Jeffrey Chukwuma said he’s come up with eight policy reforms aimed at starting a conversation about the issue following two weeks of protests calling for justice in the death of George Floyd.
Many are now questioning the role of police officers and are taking a closer look at cases of police brutality.
“We protest, and there’s no change. The only way that there’s change is through legislation or policy reform,” said Chukwuma.
The prosecutor recently discussed reform on Instagram.
“We need justice, but we need justice and change. Justice alone isn’t enough,” he said in a video posted to Instagram.
He also posted the list of policy reform items.
“All officers should wear body cameras. Another is that, if you’re suspected or there’s an allegation of some type of misconduct regarding police brutality or excessive force, you should be suspended without pay,” he said. “Also, there needs to be a separate oversight committee, separate and apart from law enforcement, to look into these types of allegations.”
Chukwuma said officers’ body cameras should be turned on at all times.
The second policy item on his list reads, “Any arrest made without backup body camera footage should be ruled void, and the suspect should walk immediately, and allegation of misconduct reported against an officer without backup body camera footage should be presumed to be true.”
“There needs to be accountability and transparency between police officers and citizens,” said Chukwuma.
The Broward County Police Benevolent Association demanded Chukwuma’s dismissal in a letter to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.
“This state attorney decided that law enforcement officers would not have the civil rights that every American should enjoy,” said Rod Skirvin, president of the Broward County PBA. “His opinion was, during an investigation, we should be presumed guilty, and the burden would be on us to prove our innocence if we’re accused. That’s more than change. That’s a clear bias against police.”
“I am in no way biased against police officers, OK?” said Chukwuma. “I am not saying that violent criminals should go free, but what I am saying, and I think that we can all objectively agree, is that the current system and structure of policing is flawed. It’s simply not working.”
Chukwuma said the eight points are just a starting point to help start much needed dialogue.
“I am not speaking as a prosecutor or on behalf of the State Attorney’s Office. I’m speaking as a black American in this country who’s familiar with the justice system and who knows that there’s room for improvement,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Broward State Attorney’s Office said it supports their prosecutors, adding that the use of body cameras would lead to greater transparency and an increase in credibility among law enforcement agencies.
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