— A Florida lawmaker is proposing legislation that would require police to record all use of deadly force, including the shooting of a person and the death of an innocent bystander.
State Rep. Mike Raoult’s bill, introduced Monday, seeks to change the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law.
He says the law is being abused and can’t be reformed by changing its wording.
The law has been on the books since 1989 and has sparked controversy over whether it protects people from being killed by police.
Raoult is an African-American and was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2016.
His legislation is an attempt to put the issue in the spotlight, he said.
The bill states, “This bill is intended to address the many issues concerning the use of force and the potential for harm in Florida and the nation.”
It calls for police to make “reasonable efforts to obtain a report of a potential deadly threat” by calling 911 or the local law enforcement agency, if necessary.
The legislation also would require all police officers to be trained on the use and consequences of deadly Force.
“We’re trying to change a culture where people feel justified to shoot people,” Raoult said in an interview with local ABC affiliate WESH-TV.
“It’s not just the people who are shooting at you.
It’s the people that are walking around the neighborhood who are not wearing their seat belts,” Raoul said.
Raoul also called for the police department to be given a body camera.
“I believe that every police officer should be wearing a body cam,” Raouts stated.
Raoult’s legislation would apply to all officers, regardless of race or gender.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement would have to decide whether to take the bill seriously, and if so, would be required to develop and implement a new policy.
“They would have a clear policy for how to conduct themselves in certain situations,” Raouf said.
“And the policy would have an impact on how officers respond.”
Raoult also said that police should be able to use force when a person is in imminent danger of being hurt or killed.
“Any time someone has the right to self-defense, they should have the right of self-protection,” Raoft said.
Raouf, a Republican, said that when he was growing up in the 1980s, he was not able to defend himself when someone attempted to assault him.
“When I was a kid, the police wouldn’t go after a car with a woman in it because they would have thought she was going to run away and hurt herself,” he said, noting that many people are afraid of being shot by police, and have no way of knowing whether or not they are being killed.
In recent years, Florida has seen an increase in fatal police shootings, according to a study by the University of Florida.
In 2015, there were 8,821 deaths involving police officers nationwide, according the study.
More than 6,400 of those deaths involved the use, attempted or completed, of deadly firearms.