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Police reform bills passed in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh City Council passed five bills aimed at reforming some of the practices of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

The bills include:

  • A hiring freeze: This will defund the Police Recruit and First-Year Police Officer line items in the Bureau’s 2020 Budget
  • Demilitarization of police: Bans the purchase of surplus U.S. military equipment and weapons by the bureau
  • Establishing a duty to intervene: Requires all police officers to step in and stop other officers from using illegal or unnecessary force
  • STOP the violence fund: Requires the city to dedicate 10% of the police budget annually for evidence-based violence prevention social service programs
  • Banning chokeholds: Bans chokeholds from being used by officers

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The bills were introduced and passed in the wake of nationwide demonstrations following the death of George Floyd. Additionally, in the Pittsburgh area, controversy surrounded several protests as police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds that were allegedly not complying with orders to vacate the area.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police released the following statement:

“The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police was already in the process of strengthening its policies. We have met with Council members and respect their recommendations.

“However, the reduction in funds for police recruits will greatly impact our ability to have a diverse police department. We will work with City officials and Council to insure funding is available in the future to recruit new officers who represent the community they will serve and who are willing to make a difference.

“We will look forward to working together in the future.”

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