Massachusetts lawmakers are set to pass the final version of their racial justice and police accountability legislation, and it will soon go to the governor’s desk. We need Governor Baker to demonstrate his support for communities of color and police brutality victims.

It’s time for the governor heed the overwhelming cries for justice in the Commonwealth by supporting a strong racial justice and police accountability bill.

Message Recipients:

Governor Baker

[The Form Label field is hidden on ACLU message action forms]
Your Message

As a Massachusetts voter, I urge you to support a strong policing reform bill to ensure that the people of the Commonwealth can hold law enforcement officers accountable for injustice.

Over the past months, people across all walks of life have reacted with horror to the police killings of George Floyd and other Black people, taking to the streets to demand justice. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is not immune from the worst kinds of police brutality. The Department of Justice recently singled out the Springfield Police Department for a pattern of egregious civil rights violations. One advocate recently called Springfield, “one of the worst police departments in the country.” The people of Springfield, and brutality victims across the State, deserve better.

I want to thank you for championing police training and certification. That’s one critically needed reform, but we need to do more to hold officers accountable. We also need to ensure that victims of police brutality can receive justice in Massachusetts courts. Together, licensing and liability are the language of accountability in America.
To work towards a more just policing system, I ask that you support a bill that does the following:

We need to reform qualified immunity so that police are not automatically let off the hook for abusive behavior before a court even has a chance to evaluate whether they violated the law. Massachusetts should follow the lead of Colorado, which recently ended qualified immunity for law enforcement.

Any reform bill should get rid of a fundamental flaw in the Mass. Civil Rights Act that requires a person to show that a public official deprived them of their rights while using “threats, intimidation or coercion.” This means when police use excessive force, but don’t also use “threats, intimidation or coercion,” police can claim they did not violate the law. This perverse situation makes our state civil rights law far weaker than federal law. That’s shameful for a state which prides itself on being a civil rights leader.

Both the House and Senate bills wisely prohibit most government use of this racially biased, dangerous technology. Major technology companies like Microsoft, Amazon and IBM have all recognized the extreme danger of law enforcement using this technology that exacerbates racial harms. Likewise, several cities and towns across the Commonwealth have banned face surveillance, but everyone in Massachusetts deserves the same protections against expanded police surveillance, for good.

Please take these legacy-defining steps for progress. Please support legislation that will reform qualified immunity, fix the MCRA, and ban face surveillance – in addition to establishing an effective system for officer certification and professional accountability.


[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

Recent participants