SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s law enforcement unions are objecting to all six police accountability bills that have been introduced for the special legislative session that begins Wednesday.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the measures range from bans on chokeholds and the use of tear gas to changes in disciplinary procedures for police. They form the centerpiece of a legislative session called in the wake of the nationwide protests following the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis.
Michael Selvaggio, the lobbyist for the Oregon Coalition of Police & Sheriffs, known as ORCOPS for short, said he would “roundly reject the notion we’re somehow in the way of reform.”
But, he added, the bills have some “very obvious and unworkable mechanisms” and that it “seems to me like they really rushed into this.”
Lawmakers are pushing forward with several bills that have faced strong union opposition in the past. They include measures that would revamp police discipline cases, ban tear gas and give the state attorney general the power to oversee investigations into police actions that lead to death or serious injury.
Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, is a member of the legislative People of Color Caucus, which has proposed several of the bills being taken up by the legislature.
“It is time for us to go ahead and initiate these reforms,” Manning said “The people demand it.”
Manning, a former Army drill sergeant who also once worked as a police officer, said the police unions will have a chance to make their case.