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Cambridge police officers ordered to intervene if they see another officer using 'unreasonable' force

Police Commissioner Branville Bard today issued an order, effective immediately, that requires “all sworn members of the Cambridge Police Department present at any scene where physical force is being applied, to either stop, or attempt to stop, another member of the Department when force is being unreasonably applied or is no longer required.”

Previously, officers who witnessed fellow officer using excessive force only had to report it to a superior officer, not to intervene. Now:

When conduct is being committed by another member, officers are ordered to take an active approach to verbally or physically intervene to stop any unethical behavior or misconduct committed by another member in the Department.

In a statement, Bard said:

Over the last two weeks, we have closely scrutinized our policies and procedures in light of the various reform measures that are being proposed around the country such as those outlined in the 8 Can’t Wait project. While we feel that most, if not all, of our policies directly align with the spirit of what is being asked for in the recommendations, an area where we felt we could be more explicit was the duty to intervene and stop excessive force by other officers.

The new order gives some examples of when one officer might intervene against another:

You observe an officer strike an individual without any reason. If appropriate, you could tell the officer to “cool it” or that you’ll take over the matter and have them step aside. If necessary, step in between the officer and the individual or hold the officer back in order to stop him/her from inflicting more unreasonable force.

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Comments

Just curious if anyone can hear my eyes rolling through the internet...

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BOUT TIME. that was not so hard, unless you count the lumps in peoples, particularly, black peoples heads made by police truncheons, in that case it was too hard to get here but glad we are here

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It's important to note that this was NOT the case before today.

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i don’t believe this is a case of they needed to be told this, more like an appeasing gesture towards the public.

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You observe an officer strike an individual without any reason

...which I'm pretty sure there are already laws against: that would be assault and battery. So what this comes down to is, "If you see another officer commit a violent felony, tell him to knock that off." Pretty low expectations if you ask me.

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An officer commits assault while wearing the shield, and "cool it" is the best response we can come up with? Seriously?

How about every cop needs to wear a body camera at all times, and their testimony is inadmissable in court unless there is footage to back it up? None of this "malfunctioning" nonsense.

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I would bet money that this has already been in their policy for a long time. I'd be shocked if it wasn't. This has been standard language in use of force policies for a long time now.

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Why not just "per existing order X, you're still not supposed to do this"?

Also...doesn't seem like having this as standard language has helped nationally. Maybe we need to have police departments start actually enforcing this?

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At some inservice, usually the range but who knows.

I’m just saying the counselor might not know if they have it or don’t have it in their policies....

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what is or isn't in their policies???? And whether or not that covers "don't assault people unnecessarily"?

If this is supposed to be a defense of the cops, let me say, it's really having a totally opposite effect here.

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The language has been standard in basically every police departments use of force policy.

EDIT: I just saw the use of force policy (they have it online). It actually isn't in there. Also a pretty short policy.

EDIT2: I also didn't see that it was the police commissioner, I thought it said counselor.

My bad x2

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Radio news earlier was making the point that policy up to now has been more towards "see something, report it" - whereas this is a little more towards "take action to stop it"

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since I'm pretty sure the policy of Cambridge PD for other criminal behavior hasn't just been "see something, report it". Now why would there be different treatment if the behavior is done by a police officer? What a strange and unusual policy, really.

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Police policing the police. Again. Still.

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Police policing the police. Again. Still.

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