Alabama State Senator Advocates for Measures to ‘Punish Bad Apples’ within Law Enforcement


A video from earlier this month went viral showing a police officer in Reform, Alabama tasing a guy who was being held down. The police officer has since been put on administrative leave, but some community leaders want her fired from the police force and sued personally for what they say is her wrongdoing.

One person who saw the video is State Sen. Merika Coleman. She wants to pass a law that would let local prosecutors charge a police officer with a Class C felony if they use a Taser on the job to try to control a suspect who is already restrained.

Coleman (D-Birmingham) said she would get both a criminal and a civil form of the bill passed. In the civil form, judges can give money as compensation if they think it’s fair.

“As we watched, the young man did what we asked.” He wasn’t a threat anymore. On the back of a car, he was restrained. He was tased even more. He told WSFA, “That kind of behavior shouldn’t happen.”

Sen. Coleman is also running for the second congressional district in Alabama, which was just made. She was recently criticized for “playing congressional politics” when she announced even bigger changes to the way police work: footage from cop body cameras would have to be made public without a judge’s permission.

In an early version of her bill, bodycam video is described as “deemed a public record” and “subject to public inspection otherwise provided by law.”

Coleman said that “bad apples” are to blame and that the government doesn’t do enough to stop them.

“We need people to serve and protect us.” “But we also need to have the tools to be able to scold and punish the bad apples who abuse their power as police officers,” Coleman said.

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Data from the Department of Justice shows that about 16,000 police officers are hurt every year when they are attacked on the job. Studies also showed that police officers are much more likely to get hurt when they have to use force to stop someone.

Sen. Coleman said that it will be an “uphill battle” for her and her Democratic colleagues to get the changes she wants to see in the State Legislature passed by the conservative lawmakers.

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