Following the conviction of a former Minneapolis police officer in the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday that a police reform bill is in the works. This is one of several police reform efforts underway across the country.
More training for officers in areas such as de-escalation and use of force will be included in the bill, which will also include a statewide use of force incident database, an officer discipline database, and a requirement for an independent investigation of officer-involved critical incidents, according to DeWine.
Law enforcement organizations, civil rights activists, and Republican state Rep. Phil Plummer, the former Montgomery County sheriff, collaborated with DeWine’s office on the bill, which “would improve accountability and transparency in law enforcement,” he said.
“George Floyd’s death laid bare some of our deepest divisions in our country — our goal, my goal, all of our goal should be to work every single day to bring us together as a people, to bring us together as a country,” the governor said, adding that “there is a lot for us to learn from this great tragedy.”
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during Floyd’s arrest last year, was found guilty of all three charges against him on Tuesday in one of the most significant trials of the Black Lives Matter era. Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of accidental murder in the second degree, murder in the third degree, and manslaughter in the second degree. The jury deliberated for over 10 hours over two days before reaching a verdict.
DeWine’s statement comes after a fatal police shooting of a Black teen in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday after he charged two females with a knife.
The officer who fired the shots has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has said that state investigators will decide “if the officer involved was wrong, and if he was, we will hold him responsible.”
Following Floyd’s death and Chauvin’s conviction, members of Congress have begun to discuss federal policy reform. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Wednesday that the Justice Department has launched a federal civil investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.
DeWine has previously taken steps to combat the use of force by the state. He ordered Ohio Cabinet-level departments to review their use-of-force policies last year and urged the Ohio legislature to prohibit chokeholds. He also requested that the Ohio State Highway Patrol start purchasing body cameras for all officers.