‘There is much more work left to do’: Gov. Evers signs bipartisan police reform bills

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Tony Evers in front of a flag

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday signed into law several bills that change use-of-force procedures throughout the state.

The bills included measures that ban the use of chokeholds by law enforcement, require law enforcement agencies to make use-of-force policies publicly available online, and require the Wisconsin Department of Justice to collect data and publish an annual report on use-of-force incidents.

While the bills received bipartisan support in the Legislature, Evers said they don’t go far enough to address racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

“The people of Wisconsin are demanding systemic change and reform in our state,” Evers said in a statement. “They must be heard. And that means there is much more work left to do.”

In August 2020, after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Evers called a special legislative session, but GOP lawmakers gaveled in and out of the session. The bills signed by Evers on Tuesday came as the result of a bipartisan task force was formed after the special session to examine racial disparities in the criminal justice.

Banning chokeholds was one of the task force’s recommendations. Chokeholds have been banned by the Madison Police Department for at least three decades.