AG announces expanded review protocols for use of force by police

The Attorney General will be releasing a new set of protocols this week which will allow the office to review any allegation of excessive use of force by police.

The new protocols “mandates Attorney General review of police use of deadly force, use of force resulting in serious bodily injury, and excessive use of force,” according to a release from the AG’s office.

The new set of guidelines requires all police departments to report these allegations to the Attorney General, who will lead the review of the incident, and announced criminal charges if appropriate.

“There are instances of misconduct by police that don’t rise to the use of deadly force or where there’s a death in custody,” said Attorney General Peter Nerohna in a press conference Monday. “Typically, those cases would not make it to this office because the alleged conduct there is a misdemeanor.”

Nerohna said it’s a part of police accountability, and it’s the first time since 2007 these protocols have been changed.

“This office has the capacity and the capability to make independent judgments about when police misconducts rise to the level of criminal activity. It’s what we do all the time,” he said. “An assault today may lead to a more serious act of violence later.”

Sid Wordell, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association, called the amended protocols “appropriate,” and said talks began even before the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police.

“Our policies regarding reviewing them were not necessarily uniform across every department,” Wordell said. “Puts everybody in the same line with each other on how we take care of issues.”

Wordell said any procedure involving law enforcement is always under constant review.

“Any time anything happens across the country dealing with law enforcement we take a look at our policies, procedures, and protocols,” Wordell said. “And this protocol with the Attorney General certainly brought it back to the light back, to the forefront, I should say.”

Nerohna told reporters he would like to see every law enforcement officer in the state wear body cameras, but Wordell said it all comes down to the money.

Wordell said departments would need the funding to purchase and maintain the body cameras.

Nerohna said he would support that funding.




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