in the State Senate
on April 23, 2021, by a vote of
Purpose: H.145 seeks to soften the use of force standards for police passed last year, which outlawed the use of chokeholds in any scenario.
Analysis: This slightly loosens standards for which law enforcement may use deadly force. Legislators hastily passed the most stringent deadly force police guidelines (S.119) in the country last year, following George Floyd's death. S.119 told officers to never use chokeholds under any circumstances. H.145 alters those guidelines. This allows a police officer to use (potentially) deadly force (including chokeholds), when “such force is objectively reasonable and necessary to: defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person; or apprehend a fleeing person… (who may) cause death or serious bodily injury to another unless immediately apprehended.”
Those voting YES wanted to give police more options for resolving conflicts in the least violent way possible, noting that chokeholds carry less risk than shooting a suspect. Some also mentioned their desire to preserve the legislative mechanism from 2020 for penalizing “a select few who have lost sight of the fact that their responsibility is to protect and serve not to dominate and dictate.” They believe the Legislature has a “legal moral and ethical responsibility to take care of those problems when they arise” (Sen. Benning).
The Senator voting NO was not concerned about the content of H.145. Rather, Sen. Ingalls was bothered with “the tone” of other Senators when they spoke about law enforcement. “I believe they deserve so much better from us.” Sen. Ingalls wished to “defend the reputation of our law enforcement men and women who answer the call of public service.”
As Recorded in the Senate Journal, Friday, April 23, 2021: "Was read the third time and passed in concurrence with proposals of amendment on a roll call, Yeas 28, Nays 1." (Read the Journal, p. 506).
View the floor debate on YouTube.
How They Voted
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) – YES
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – YES
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) – YES
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – YES
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Thomas Chittenden (D-Chittenden) – YES
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – YES
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) – YES
Ruth Hardy (D-Addison) – YES
Cheryl Hooker (D-Rutland) – YES
Russ Ingalls (R-Essex-Orleans) – NO
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – YES
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) – YES
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Corey Parent (R-Franklin) – YES
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) – YES
Andrew Perchlik (D-Washington) – YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D-Washington) – YES
Kesha Ram (D-Chittenden) – YES
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) – YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) – YES
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – ABSENT
Joshua Terenzini (R-Rutland) – YES
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) – YES
Jeanette White (D-Windham) – YES
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