Gov. Ron DeSantis signs police reform bill with ban on arrests for children under 7

After a year of intense scrutiny of policing, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill late Tuesday that includes new use-of-force training requirements for officers. 

The measure (HB 7051) moved swiftly through the Legislature at the end of this spring’s session after negotiations on the measure by House Republicans and Democrats. 

It came after scrutiny of policing that followed the death last year of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin, who was captured on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck, was found guilty by a jury of murdering Floyd and sentenced to prison. New standards aimed at limiting officers’ use of chokeholds are included in the bill. 

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Chokeholds would be limited "to circumstances where the officer perceives an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death to himself, herself, or another person." Training also would instruct officers on a "duty to intervene in another officer's excessive use of force," and a "duty to render medical assistance following use of force."

Another provision of the bill is ending the arrest of kids under 7. That only applies to non-forcible felonies. Arrests for murder, robbery, assault, and manslaughter are still allowed.

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According to the Orlando Sentinel, Sen. Randolph Bracy had pushed for the ban since 2019 stemming from an incident involving Kaia Rolle. The then 6-year-old was arrested after she allegedly kicked and punched teachers at the Lucius and Emma Nixon Academy School in Orlando.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.