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Council approves police accountability office, other reforms

December 16, 2020 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston City Council overwhelmingly approved creation of a new independent police oversight agency and a proposal limiting the use of tear gas and rubber bullets in crowd-control situations on Wednesday.

The measures, if signed by Mayor Marty Walsh, would advance significant reforms sought by city leaders and advocates in the wake of the national reckoning on racism and policing this year.

The proposed Office of Police Accountability and Transparency would have subpoena power to investigate police misconduct and would also support two new community panels — a civilian review board and an internal affairs oversight panel.

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Walsh had proposed the idea for the new oversight bodies following a recommendation from a police reform task force he formed in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May.

He’s has said his office will review the council-approved language as it makes a number of significant changes to his original proposal.

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross has also objected to the council’s proposal on limiting the use of tear gas and other crowd control measures.