After 2020, police regulations were heavily pushed in reaction to reported incidents of police brutality. Now, the Florida Legislature is attempting to do away with review boards that investigate local law enforcement.
SB 576 proposes abolishing existing boards and barring counties and cities from creating panels to delve into complaints of police wrongdoing. The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Blaise Ingoglia (R), argues that these boards are divisive, and one cannot help but wonder if this is because of the anti-police rhetoric stewing in recent years.
Ingoglia claimed that these review board practices are inherently political and blamed public reaction to the wrongful death of George Floyd in 2020. Ingoglia claims review boards started, "popping up after the George Floyd incident."
"Officers have a very tough job," Ingoglia said before the Senate committee passed the legislation. "It doesn’t make sense to me that we have people second-guessing those decisions. … I think it’s time that we get rid of those civilian review boards."
The bill would also be proactive in preventing further investigations into law enforcement officers related to, "the receipt, processing, or investigation … of complaints of misconduct by law enforcement or correctional officers."
Currently, existing protections like body cameras are argued to be enough accountability for police officers. Florida State Fraternal Order of Police lobbyist, Lisa Henning, stated, "This becomes very redundant, and it’s also very chilling to the officers when they are considering what agency they are going to if they are going to be tried in the court of public opinion in addition to all of the other investigations that they are going through."
Although the Defund the Police movement is no longer at its peak, residual effects of police accountability policies still exist. Ingoglia and Florida Republicans believe they are simply correcting a wrong from four years ago.