Community advocates and members of the General Assembly’s Law Enforcement Accountability Task Force (LEATF) subcommittees sent a letter to legislators on Monday, March 29, asking them to act quickly on meaningful amendments to the Law-Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).
LEOBOR, a law that gives police officers special protections, hinders the disciplinary process and keeps police misconduct records hidden from the public. Moreover, it ensures that police officers can only be investigated for misconduct by other police officers.
The letter called for LEOBOR amendments that will ensure public access to police misconduct records and allow for the Civilian Review Boards that can effectively monitor, investigate, and respond to police misconduct without undue interference from collective bargaining agreements and the police union. The letter also highlights a lack of involvement of Black and brown communities on the LEATF, and a disproportionate representation of police as task force members in contrast.
Finally, the letter expressed disappointment that no meaningful action has been taken since the taskforce started eight months ago and called for urgency to make meaningful reform happen this year — even in the absence of a final report from the task force.
The ACLU of Delaware supports community advocates' call for action on police reform. In June 2020, we responded to the Law Enforcement Accountability Taskforce (LEATF)'s launch announcement with a call for real, meaningful change. Our executive director, Mike Brickner, said "We hope that the mass outrage and cries for justice occasioned by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery will echo in the minds of our elected officials long enough to bring about transformational change and not mere platitudes and symbolic changes."
It's been nearly a year since the LEATF first met, and police misconduct has continued in Delaware — including the murder of Lymond Moses — shrouded in secrecy and a lack of accountability. Delaware was promised action last June, but no meaningful change, or proposal for change, has been presented to the public since. We amplify the call from community advocates and ask the General Assembly to move ahead with reforming the Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights to bring transparency, accountability, and justice to policing in Delaware.