March 20 Public Hearing on H.B. 5437

There will be no Community Party Hartford News column this week, due to a Hartford Arts and Heritage special edition of the paper. As protests in support of Freddie Gray take place around the country, we invite you to check out the Connecticut Network video of the March 20 Judiciary Committee public hearing on racial profiling and anti-police brutality legislation. Check out this Action Alert for info on what you can do to support these bills. Next week’s column will feature commentary on how the corporate media and activists on the left have ignored police murders of Black women such as Meagan Hockaday, who was shot to death by an Oxnard, California police officer in front of her children.

March 20 the Judiciary Committee held a public hearing on H.B. 5437 An Act Concerning The Alvin W. Penn Racial Profiling Prohibition Act., Rep. Matt Ritter’s racial profiling bill ( Community Party member Mary Sanders, who wrote our Trayvon Martin Act bill language, testified in support of the legislation, which includes CP’s Trayvon Act traffic stop receipt amendment. Mary appears at about the 8 hour, 24 minute mark of the Connecticut Network video. Nicole Hutchings contributed written testimony. Rep. Bruce Morris passionately endorsed the receipt provision, which would require that a motorist receive a copy of the traffic stop report patrol officers are required to fill out. The receipt would have to be provided whether the officer gives the driver a ticket, written/verbal warning or not. The report includes the date/time/location of the stop and the officer’s identifying information. Morris became emotional as he talked about being racially profiled by a police officer days earlier, after leaving the Legislative Office Building late at night. You can watch Morris’ comments at about 4 hours, 32 minutes. Sen. Gary Winfield called a spade a spade, calling out the police for opposing any legislation aimed at holding them accountable. You can watch his remarks at about 4 hours, 44 minutes. Rep. Angel Arce put Farmington Police Chief Paul J. Melanson in check for attempting to challenge his account of being racially profiled by Farmington cops. His remarks, which include a history lesson about racism by the Avon police, begin at about 4 hours, 54 minutes. Rep. Robyn Porter told a chilling story about being stopped by a cop who told her he had to make sure her legislative plates weren’t stolen. She talked about the need for accountability and how police body cameras have been successful in Hamden, her district. Porter advised the police chiefs who testified at the hearing to reach out to the Hamden police, who have implemented a privacy protocol regarding usage of the cameras. Her comments begin at about 5 hours, 7 minutes.

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