© 2023 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Get the latest coverage of the 2021 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Sen. Randolph Bracy Says Police Reform Bill Is A Good First Step

State Sen. Randolph Bracy speaks during a legislative session, Thursday, April 29, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
State Sen. Randolph Bracy speaks during a legislative session, Thursday, April 29, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee.

Sen. Randolph Bracy of Orlando says a police reform bill on its way to Gov. DeSantis is a good first step.

In the wake of a controversial bill to crack down on protests, Florida lawmakers have passed a bill focused on police reform. Included in the bill are requirements for use of force training, banning chokeholds and prohibiting the arrest of children under the age of 7. 

HB 7051 passed unanimously in the Senate and is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis. The caucus described the bill as a “collection of bipartisan ideas to make common-sense changes to policing in Florida.”

Sen. Randolph Bracy, who helped steer the bill through the Senate, says the bill is a good first step. The Orlando area Democrat discussed  what’s in the bill, what was left out, and his push for broader police reform. 

“There’s some very good stuff in this bill. And I would have liked for it to go further. But it’s a good first step,” says Bracy.

Bracy says what he would have liked to see in the bill were some accountability measures around the use of force.

“All of these police units will have to now adopt use of force policies. But there’s really nothing said about what happens if is violated. So I think that’s the next step. And and we’ll probably look at that in the future.”

Bracy says the police reform bill should not be seen as a counterbalance to the ‘Combating Public Disorder’ bill, which sparked an outcry from civil rights advocates.

“This is not a balance at all, not the least bit,” says Bracy.

“That anti protest bill went so far, in criminalizing what I call protesting injustice, and this police reform measure is a small step. But it doesn’t come close to the far reaching impact of the anti protest bill, so I don’t even think they’re close to being even, if we’re talking about trade-offs.”

Bracy says he’s been sponsoring a bill to prohibit the arrest of children ever since the arrest of a six year old in Orlando in 2019. He’s pleased to see it pass the legislature.

“This is Florida, though. So I think it is necessary. We’ve had cases where six year olds are arrested, a five year old was arrested. So we have to put this in place so that those actions don’t take place.”


Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Matthew Peddie
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.