Evers calls for police reform as Wisconsin marks Juneteenth

Gov. Tony Evers

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Tony Evers is calling on the Wisconsin Legislature to pass a package of criminal justice reforms as the state celebrates Juneteenth.

The legislation includes calls for statewide use of force standards, banning choke-holds and no-knock warrants, requiring annual de-escalation training and more.

“Our country promises the opportunity of justice and equity, and it’s time for us to deliver on that promise,” Gov. Evers said. “We know we don’t have all of the answers—no one does. This legislation is a first step toward dismantling the systems we’ve created, but it can only be a first step. Racism and racial disparities can’t be solved with any single bill or package of bills, or person—it’s on all of us, together. We must meet this movement with our empathy and our compassion, but most of all we must meet it with action.”

However, the Democratic governor hasn’t ordered a special session for the Republican-controlled Legislature to take up the proposals.

Assembly Democrats and the Black Legislative Caucus have requested a special session. Evers has the power to call one, as do Republican lawmakers.

The call for reforms come Friday as Wisconsin observes the Juneteenth holiday with marches, calls for action, the raising of flags and virtual discussions moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic.