SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Illinois House has passed a controversial police reform bill which will now head to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk to be signed into law.
House Bill 3653 passed the House with a 60-50 vote after being approved by the Senate just before 5 a.m.
A modified version of the comprehensive police reform plan would eliminate cash bail within 2 years; allow the use of deadly force only when an officer acts in self defense or defending others from bodily harm; makes it easier to decertify officers by eliminating signed affidavit of complaint; limits the purchase of specialized tactical (military) equipment; and mandates the use of police body cameras for all officers by 2025.
A provision which would have removed qualified immunity for individual police officers, potentially exposing them to civil lawsuits, was eliminated from the new version of the bill.
Law enforcement across Illinois have opposed the bill.
“It will make it difficult, if not impossible, to hold suspects in custody when they have been accused of crimes,” said Loves Park Police Chief Chuck Lynde. “It prevents the use of force in almost all situations, including those which are life threatening.”
The bill was introduced by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in response to nationwide social justice calls for police reform following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year.
67th District Representative Maurice West (D) is part of the legislative Black Caucus, which helped write the amendment.
Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford), who voted against the bill, said, “This proposal will put violent offenders back on the streets, put an end to cash bail, endangers our residents and threatens the law enforcement profession in Illinois. It’s unbelievable. The safety and wellbeing of our communities and citizens are at stake here. We cannot afford not to get criminal justice reform right. Unfortunately, those who supported this bill, did not agree.
“I respect our local law enforcement and value the safety of our communities above all else. This was shortsighted and devastating anti-police legislation that should not have passed. I voted no this morning and vow to continue standing with our police officers.”
The Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition released the following statement Wednesday:
“In the dark of night Illinois legislators made Illinois less safe. More than 112,000 citizens so far have signed a petition to oppose the community-endangering law enforcement legislation being rammed through the General Assembly, but how did the Senate respond to those constituent concerns? By introducing a 764-page amendment at 3:51 a.m. and shoving it through in the middle of the night before the people voting on it even had a chance to read it. We had been working in good faith with the Attorney General on a bill that would make great strides to modernize law enforcement, but that legislation was dumped into this monster bill and the result is a betrayal of the public trust that gives many more advantages to criminals than the police. It ties the hands of police officers while pursuing suspects and making arrests, and allows criminals to run free while out on bail. The legislation includes no way to pay for any of these law-abiding citizen-threatening measures, so taxpayers will have to pay extra for the privilege of being crime victims.”Illinois Law Enforcement Coalition