A bill has been filed that aims to toughen laws on fair and unbiased policing among Missouri’s law enforcement. The proposal would expand police reporting requirements, require training on biased policing and hold agencies and officers accountable for biased policing practices.
Advocates call the bill the Fair and Impartial Policing Act, which has bi-partisan support. The ACLU of Missouri and the Don’t Shoot Coalition back the measure.
House sponsor Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) said tracking pedestrian stops would also be included in the proposal.
“This is a huge step forward because a lot of the experiences that especially young African Americans have is that they get harassed or they get stopped and frisked,” said Dogan. “If that happens to you, unjustifiably, that’s an incredibly humiliating experience.”
Senate sponsor Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis) said the proposal would create more integrity within law enforcement.
“I don’t believe that this is an attack on law enforcement. I truly believe that at the end of the day that this is going to better our law enforcement community. They are going to have better relations with community overall,” said Nasheed.”
“What we’re looking to do with this legislation is to add teeth to it. The legislation that we have on the books right now has no resources for civilians to go to court if they find that their civil rights have been violated,” said Nasheed.
Dogan said there hasn’t been enough attention on the issue by two state officeholders.
“During the 15 years that this racial profiling study has been in place, the two Attorneys General of Missouri have been Jay Nixon and Chris Koster,” said Dogan. “They have been lackluster, to say the least, in their response to the mounting evidence that we have of biased policing.”
A 2014 report by Missouri’s Attorney General said African Americans were stopped by police 66% more often than white drivers. Hispanics were also nearly two times more likely than white citizens to be searched.