STATE HOUSE – The Senate today announced the appointment of a special legislative task force that will review and provide recommendations on policies pertaining to the Rhode Island Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.

The task force, created by legislation sponsored by Sen. Harold M. Metts and approved by the Senate June 18, is to comprehensively study and provide recommendations on the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR), to ensure accountability and protection against misconduct. Adopted in Rhode Island in 1976, the LEOBOR protects officers accused of misconduct, preventing them from being immediately fired or put on leave without pay, and allowing their continued employment to be decided by a panel of other police officers. The law has been widely criticized by many who believe it prevents justice from being served when officers are abusive.

“Public safety officers are to protect public safety, and there should not be ways to prevent those who pervert justice from being held accountable,” said Senator Metts (D-Dist. 6, Providence), who will serve on the task force. “The black, brown and southeast Asian communities have long called for genuine reform of this law to protect our safety. While it shouldn’t take widely distributed videos of police brutality and murder, as well as worldwide protests, to finally bring about change, I’m hopeful that our call is finally too great to ignore.”

The 13-member task force will include:

·         Senator Metts

·         Sen. Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence)

·         Sen. Gordon E. Rogers (R-Dist. 21, Foster, Coventry, Scituate, West Greenwich)

·         Attorney General Peter F. Neronha

·         State Police Superintendent Col. James M. Manni

·         Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh T. Clements Jr.

·         Rhode Island Human Rights Commission Executive Director Michael Évora

·         NAACP Providence Branch President James Vincent

·         Anthony Capezza Jr., representing the Rhode Island AFL-CIO

·         Latino Policy Institute Director Marcela Betancur

·         Providence External Review Board Executive Director Jose F. Batista

·         Rev. Howard M. Jenkins Jr.

·         Rev. Chontell N. Washington

·        

The resolution creating the task force calls for it to study protection of the rights of residents, conduct and accountability responsibilities, police relations with racial and ethnic minority communities, police management, disciplinary procedures, enhanced training for cultural

The task force is expected to hold its first meeting in the coming weeks. The resolution creating it sets its reporting date as Feb. 9, 2021.

President Trump is promising to provide COVID-19 relief. He made those comments while speaking in New Jersey. Trump said he plans to use executive action to extend unemployment benefits but did not say how much it would be.       Dr. Anthony Fauci says he'll keep repeating the public health principles until he's blue in the face because "those things work." The infectious disease expert said the more people wear a mask, the sooner the country can reopen. He added if people keep following the basic rules, we can come out of the fall and winter looking good.       TikTok is threatening legal action following President Trump's executive order to ban the app from doing business in the U.S. Trump's executive order blocks transactions with the Chinese-based app's parent company starting in 45 days. His order also states security concerns with the social media platform.       The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will have less people attending this year due to concerns of COVID-19. A number of concerts have been canceled or reduced to a smaller crowd. Attendees have also been given guidelines like social distancing and wearing a mask.       Attorneys for an ex-North Texas police officer found guilty of killing an unarmed black man wants a new trial. Lawyers for Amber Guyger say she should not have been convicted of murder after she mistook Botham Jean's [[BOH-tham JZON's]] apartment for her own. Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison.       A former employee for the Los Angeles Angels is being charged in the death for pitcher Tyler Skaggs. Eric Kay is accused of giving the drug fentanyl to the pitcher. Skaggs died of a drug overdose in July.