Peter is committed to passing legislation that advances racial equality, significantly reforms police and the use of force, and redresses massive social inequities in education, business, and healthcare.
Last year, members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus introduced significant police reform bills. These bills would have set up protections for citizens from the use of excessive force, create accountability and transparency so that we can more easily identify questionable police officers, and establish investigative bodies with authority.
What happened to them? The Republican Leadership let them languish in the Judiciary Committee. The bills were reintroduced this year and it looked as though the leadership—including my opponent, current House Majority Leader Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-171)—was content to let them die again. It wasn’t until the Black Caucus and allies occupied the floor of the General Assembly Chamber and refused to leave that former Speaker Turzai and the Majority leaders agreed to a special session on the bill package. Some of these bills are being passed, but we cannot lose sight of what must still be done.
· HB 1664 would allow deadly force only if it is necessary to prevent serious bodily harm or death to officers or another individual.
· HB 1382 requires the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate fatal incidents caused by a law enforcement officer.
· HB 1812 will create a statewide Law Enforcement Oversight Board with the authority to certify and decertify law enforcement officers.
· HB 1666 will require law enforcement agencies to keep detailed personnel records, to be submitted to the Office of the Attorney General. These records will include all criminal, civil and ethics substantiated complaints, as well as the reason and circumstances surrounding the separation of each officer.
Let us be clear: this legislation is not anti-police. It is pro-community, pro-liberty, pro-justice, and pro-security in the truest senses of the words.
The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass was right: “Power has never conceded anything without a demand. It never has and it never will.”
There is no more waiting for justice. It is my promise to the people of Pennsylvania’s 171st
district that I will always hold true to these principles.