FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — The debate surrounding the controversial police accountability bill continues to build hours before the Senate is set to vote on the bill that would change qualified immunity.
“This bill, as it stands, could affect our application and retention rates and could possibly result in instances where there are early retirements and not enough qualified personnel to replace them,” said Chief Christopher Lyddy of the Fairfield Police Department.
The bill attempts to tackle police reform by banning chokeholds, mandating body cameras and would require health screenings for police officers.
“What it doesn’t do is target bad cops,” said State Rep. Laura Devlin. “What it does do is diminish our ability for policemen and policewomen to do their job.”
A point of controversy, however, is the qualified immunity aspect. The bill would allow citizens to sue when their civil rights are violated — something police advocates said needs to be reworked with greater consideration.
“I believe there’s a way to achieve this without punishing the good men and women who put their lives on the line for every one of us, every single day,” said Devlin
Counter-protesters disagreed, urging the Senate to pass the bill.
“The police system in America is based on the foundation of institutionalized racism and the police is a majority white body even in minority communities and they enforce racist laws,” said Emma Vella-Bass. “HB [house bill] 6004 is the first step to undoing institutionalized racism.”