Demonstrators call for police reform bill to pass without Gov. Baker’s revisions

SWAMPSCOTT, Mass. — Demonstrators continued to push back against the governor’s revisions to a police reform bill that, if passed, would create major changes to law enforcement oversight. Saturday night, two groups of people stood outside the homes of Senate President Karen Spilka and Speaker of the House of Representatives Robert DeLeo.

They called for legislators to stand firm on the community’s role in police accountability.

“I’ve been joking at home that all I want for Christmas is this police reform bill,” one demonstrator said in front of Spilka’s house in Ashland.

Senate President Spilka walked down her driveway to greet demonstrators after hearing them sing.

“We are working on producing the best possible bill for this time, so I’m looking forward to it going across the finish line expeditiously and hopefully very shortly,” Senate President Spilka told Boston 25 News.

Meanwhile, in front of Rep. DeLeo’s house in Winthrop, demonstrators said passing the bill without the governor’s proposed changes would be a step toward achieving racial justice.

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“We know how we should be treated and, unfortunately, the police union, they don’t have our best interest at heart,” said Bernadette Hickman-Maynard, a racial justice organizer for the group ECCO. “They aren’t officers of the peace in the way that they could be.”

Both groups ended the night by meeting at a church across the street from Gov. Charlie Baker’s house in Swampscott. Earlier this month, Gov. Baker sent the police reform bill back to lawmakers with some key revisions.

Baker said that he would not support a ban on facial recognition software and that he didn’t believe police training programs should be overseen by a civilian-controlled commission.

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“We believe that people should set the standards, not just our legislatures that represent us,” one demonstrator said at a podium that was set up in the church front yard.

Gov. Baker has expressed that he’s willing to veto the bill if his amendments aren’t made. If so, legislators would have to go back to the drawing board in the new year.