Legislative subcommittee directs attention toward policing amid nationwide cries to end police brutality | KOB 4

Legislative subcommittee directs attention toward policing amid nationwide cries to end police brutality

Grace Reader
Updated: August 09, 2020 10:27 PM
Created: August 09, 2020 09:54 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the midst of nationwide protests over policing, New Mexico’s Criminal Justice Reform Subcommittee is directing their attention toward law enforcement accountability.

The subcommittee will hold a meeting Monday to discuss different policing changes that could be introduced during next year’s legislative session.

The subcommittee meeting will likely give a glimpse into how police-focused the next session will be.

“We've never really dealt with police issues at the state level before,” Maestas said. “We did something in 2009 outlining racial profiling but it was more like a feel good bill than anything else. But this next session there's going to be eight or ten or twelve bills dealing with police reform.

In the past, the subcommittee has tackled reform in areas like court and correction policies.

“We've accomplished a tremendous amount,” said Rep. Antonio Maestas (D-District 16). “We were the last state in the country to have an expungement law so we got that passed a couple years ago. We've done a lot of things with taking low level crimes off the books, making them penalty assessments so that cops can focus on violent crime, that investigation.”

The subcommittee will have three meetings focused on different elements of law enforcement including accountability and qualified immunity.

“If you’re running back is fumbling twice a game, you should be able to hold that running back accountable and if you criticize that running back, you don't hate the team—you want them to be better,” Maestas said.

Other agencies like the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association will also be present at the meeting to share their comments.

Association President Shaun Willoughby sent the following statement about the Monday meeting:

“We welcome having a conversation with our state legislators about have we can effect police in our state while also addressing the current reform question being posed by some of the public.”

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