Milwaukee Common Council approves 'I can't breathe' resolution

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee Common Council passed a a resolution urging the Fire and Police Commission to adopt a policy addressing an "I can't breathe" plea by someone who is in police custody. 

Alderman Russell Stamper introduced the resolution, urging the FPC to adopt a policy regarding a plea from any person under police custody stating that the individual is unable to breathe or any indication that the individual is unable to breathe. The legislation also states the policy should include a requirement that when a person states that he or she cannot breathe, police officers must ask whether the person needs medical attention. 

"As we talk about police reform and system reform and justice and doing what’s right – let’s begin with this policy – a policy that when someone says, 'I can’t breathe', you have to let them go, you have to give them some air," Stamper said. 

The Common Council also adopted a resolution directing the Department of Administration - Intergovernmental Relations Division to try and pass legislation regarding police officers involved in homicides whether on or off-duty. 

“I introduced this resolution because at the end of the day we need to do everything we can to make sure our constituents feel safe and they know officers will be held accountable for their actions, particularly those that result in loss of life,” said Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd said in a press release. “The people have made their voices heard and the time for real police reform is now. This is just one piece of the larger puzzle, but it is a step forward toward rebuilding public trust with the knowledge that officers will face the stiffest consequences for their actions in instances of homicide.”

The resolution goes on to state those changes can include allowing the City to suspend a police officer without pay if the suspension arises from conduct for which the officer has been charged with a serious felony, seeking authority for the City to require reimbursement of salary paid to a police officer while suspended if the police officer is convicted of a serious felony in relation to the suspension, or requiring that any officer-involved be investigated by an outside agency, regardless of whether the officer is on or off-duty at the time, according to the release. 

The Milwaukee Common Council also approved a proposal asking the city's budget director to include a 10 percent cut for the Milwaukee Police Department in a model budget. 

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