Voters approve measures overhauling police in areas across the country

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Voters in cities and counties across at least six states passed police reform measures this week that toughen oversight and allow for more public access to body- and dashboard-camera recordings. 

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Many areas in which there were massive protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis — such as Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego and Sonoma County in California — voted to create oversight committees that investigate police misconduct and the use of deadly force by officers. Reforms also passed in Texas and Ohio.

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In Philadelphia, where outraged protesters marched after the death of Walter Wallace Jr., who was shot and killed by police responding to reports of an armed man with a knife, a new measure called for creating a Citizens Police Oversight Committee to replace the Police Advisory Commission, which has been accused of failing to hold police accountable.

An investigation into Wallace's death is continuing, but the police department on Wednesday released body-camera footage from the shooting that showed Wallace ignored commands to drop his knife as officers approached him. Family members said Wallace had mental health problems. 

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Another proposal suggested including a stipulation in the city charter to "eliminate the practice of unconstitutional stop and frisk, consistent with judicial precedent."

Voters in Akron, Ohio, approved a charter amendment that would require police departments to make public recordings from police body- and dashboard-cameras in cases where officers used force and a suspect died or was seriously injured. 

Funding changes for law enforcement agencies were on ballots in several cities, reflecting calls from protestors to "defund the police" that gained prominence after the May death of Floyd, a Black man who was being taken into custody by Minneapolis police.

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In Los Angeles, a measure was approved to allocate 10% of the city's annual general fund budget, or an estimated $360 million, to programs that could prevent suspects from having to go to prison, such as job training, substance abuse programs and mental health treatment.

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