It is no secret that the national attention paid to police brutality cases has increased significantly in the last few years. Some are calling for more accountability, and legislation has started to emerge which seeks to address the issue. High-profile cases such as the shooting of Jayland Walker, the death of George Floyd, and Patrick Lyoya have increased public scrutiny of police officers.
Gaps in the letter of the law in some states have inadvertently led to difficulty in prosecuting police officers. Though no state simply allows police officers to do whatever they please whenever they would like, there has been concern that the current state of the law fails to hold authority figures to the same standards that it holds the general citizen. Recent legislation in Illinois, called the SAFE-T Act, represents efforts to affect change in this area of the law.
Illinois Police Now Duty-Bound to Prevent Any Person From Using Excessive Force
A new law has been added under ILCS 5/7-16 that requires police officers to intervene to stop the use of excessive force or unauthorized force, irrespective of the chain of command. The second part of the new law is important; in previous instances of misuse of force, some officers felt unable to intervene and disobey the chain of command.
Additionally, any officers who intervene as required by this section must make a full report under the guidelines set out under ILCS 6/7-16 (b). Reports must be filed within five days of the incident. This aspect of the statute gives intervening officers a record of their efforts and protects them legally in the case of later legal action.
Retaliation of Any Kind Against Police Who Intervene Banned Under New Statute
ILCS 5/7-16 protects whistleblowers and other officers who attempt to prevent instances of unauthorized or excessive force. Subsection c may be the most important part of the new law, since many officers would likely intervene to prevent excessive force if it were not for the fear of retaliation. Mandating intervention, requiring reporting, and protecting police officers against retaliation all work together to prevent abuses of power in the police force.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today
It is important to get professional help in matters involving your future and your freedom. Recent changes to Illinois criminal code will affect your rights and trial process, so make sure to remain informed and updated. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.