Lee, Gainey host Policy Committee hearing on use of police force

RANKIN, Aug. 27 – State Reps. Summer Lee and Ed Gainey, both D-Allegheny, today co-hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee at Hawkins Village in Rankin.

Lee and Gainey requested the hearing to discuss H.B. 1664, their bill to address use of excessive force by law enforcement when effecting an arrest. They were joined by lawmakers from across the commonwealth, as well as activists, community organizers and nonprofit leaders.

“Our current statutes are overbroad and dangerous. They are dangerous not just to the public, but to our law enforcement officers, as well, because they create a perilous situation in which the difference between life and death can come down to a split-second decision,” Lee said. “If, by changing these regulations we can take away an element of that danger, then we can save a life, and save other families and communities the pain and trauma of a tragic event.”             

“We need to work together, law enforcement, legislators, and neighbors, to rebuild the trust and relationships that are required to have a healthy community,” Gainey added. “We cannot allow that relationship to continue to erode, and it is incumbent upon each of us to take steps to rebuild that trust. Because at the end of the day, none of us want to see another life be lost in a tragic misunderstanding, but for everyone to return home safe.”

The committee heard testimony from Michelle Kenny, the mother of Antwon Rose; Lee Merritt, an attorney; Brandi Fisher, president of the Alliance for Police Accountability; Tim Stevens, chairman and CEO of B-PEP; Jasiri X, co-founder of 1Hood; Karen McLellan, a member of the Citizen Police Review Board; and Elizabeth Randol, legislative director of the ACLU-PA.

For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, people can visit www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.