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Citing Breonna Taylor case, Baker again presses for Massachusetts policing reform bill



By Katie Lannan

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday again voiced interest in a quick resolution for the policing reform bill that’s been tied up in a conference committee for almost two months, tying the matter to the death of Breonna Taylor. Taylor, a Black Kentucky woman, was shot and killed in her home by Louisville police. Her death was among a series of police killings of unarmed Black Americans that sparked a series of nationwide protests this spring, which catapulted police reform onto the Beacon Hill agenda.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted one of the officers involved in connection with shooting into an adjacent apartment, but did not charge any of the three officers directly with killing Taylor.

“What happened to Breonna Taylor was a horrible, terrible tragedy, and unfortunately in our country, too many tragedies like this befall people of color and far too often,” Baker said during a Thursday afternoon press conference about school reopenings. “I think everybody appreciates the pain and the loss being felt and suffered by her family and her loved ones during this incredibly unimaginable time.”

Baker in June unveiled a police certification bill he’d been working on with members of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus. He said hard work has been underway in Massachusetts over the past year and a half, with the caucus, local government and law enforcement officials and others to develop a plan — and eventually a bill — to enhance transparency, accountability and training in law enforcement.

“And I really hope that at some point this fall, we have a chance to appropriately celebrate the signing of legislation that will, hopefully, deal with and solve some of these very important and significant public safety issues going forward,” he said.

House and Senate policing bills have been before a conference committee for closed-door negotiations since July 27.

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