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Gov. Whitmer calls for reform as police brutality protests rage on


  • Courtesy of Michigan Executive Office of the Governor

As massive nationwide demonstrations against police brutality spread across the country — and as police officers respond to them in some cases with even more brutality — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for reform measures, including implicit bias training, de-escalation techniques, and requiring officers to intervene when they see other officers use excessive force, among others.

Whitmer announced the proposals Wednesday.

“The deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor were a result of hundreds of years of inequity and institutional racism against Black Americans,” she said in a statement. “Here in Michigan, we are taking action and working together to address the inequities Black Michiganders face every day. That’s why I'm calling on Michigan police departments to strengthen their training and policies to save lives and keep people safe. I am also ready to partner with the Michigan Legislature and law enforcement officials to pass police reform bills into law.”

“We recognize the shortcomings of the systems in place today — systems that have left Black, Latino, and other communities of color feeling underserved, even threatened by law enforcement,” Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist said. “People across Michigan have been calling for changes to police practices, and these actions are clear steps in the direction of needed reform. We are not done, and we strongly encourage cities and counties to adopt and enact local measures that build trust, accountability, and a comprehensive, non-discriminatory experience of safety for everyone in our state.”

Other actions Whitmer is taking include new comprehensive reporting on the use of force by police departments and support of Senate Bill 945, which would require recurring training and mental health screenings for all officers.

Additionally, Michigan State Police has created an Equity and Inclusion Officer position within the department and a goal to increase diversity within its ranks by boosting the non-white trooper applicant pool to 25 percent and the female trooper applicant pool to 20 percent.

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