LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - A police reform ordinance for the City of Laurel will be further reviewed by the Public Safety Committee after council members voted Tuesday in favor of postponing a vote on the ordinance.
“This is an overlap of the council exercising executive authority because we would be telling the police department what they can do and what they cannot do, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s illegal,” Laurel City Council President Tony Thaxton said.
“It’s a very significant item and I want to make sure we do it right to get it done and get it back before the council for a vote on the next meeting,” Ward 5 Councilman Stacy Comegys said.
The ordinance was created by Comegys. A few who attended Tuesday’s meeting spoke in favor of the police reform.
“Black people, black men and men of color need this ordinance,” one resident said.
“We are not safe at this moment,” another resident said. “We’re going to continue to push those police reforms and those demands.”
“We do hear the citizens of Laurel speaking out about police issues and that does come into play when you’re putting together such item as a police reform item,” Comegys said.
He says the ordinance assures officers are exhausting all options before using lethal force.
“It’s addressing chocking, as far as a knee or body weight to the neck of any person or civilian,” Comegys said. “Also, it addresses no knock warrants as well. We’ve had some incidents here in Laurel in the past, as has all cities, I would say maybe across the country, and I want to address them. I want to make sure that our young men make it home at night without being wrongfully done or the use of lethal force done to anybody that it shouldn’t be used on.”
Comegys says all cities should have police reform policies put in place.
“It’s not a knock on the Laurel Police Department as a whole, it’s just something trying to deter further incidents happening to our citizens,” Comegys said.
According to Comegys, the reform will protect the citizens as well as the local officers.
“With everything that’s going on here in America and also in our town, I feel like it needs to be addressed and we can’t ignore it any longer,” Comegys said.
Laurel City Council’s next meeting is July 21. Comegys hopes the council members can vote on the police reform by that time.