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What we know about the use of force laws for police

At least 25 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws relating to the investigation or prosecution of the use of force by law enforcement.

ARKANSAS, USA — As investigations continue into the actions caught on video showing three Arkansas officers beat up a man during an arrest in Mulberry, 5NEWS looked into the use of force laws and spoke to officials.

According to the National Conference of State Legislature, at least 25 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws relating to the investigation or prosecution of the use of force by law enforcement.

"They may have processings that take time especially in getting the interviews of the officers involved as well as any other bystanders or witnesses," said Professor Keith Taylor from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

You can find laws for each state on the NCSL's website which includes the state of Washington. 

In Washington, investigations into the use of force must be over after 129 days of accepting the investigation. If not concluded, the director of the office of independent investigations must report the reasons for the delay.

Credit: KFSM

Absent from the NCSL's website is Arkansas. When asked about a timeline for the Mulberry investigation, an Arkansas State Police spokesperson said agents have been instructed to conduct a complete and thorough investigation. 

From there, the case file will be sent to the Crawford County prosecutor's office, which will determine whether charges are filed against any officers.

On Tuesday, April 20, 2021, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law that aimed to prevent excessive force amongst officers. This law comes on the same day the jury reached a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Act 792, former House Bill (HB) 1865, required training concerning a law enforcement officer's duty to intervene when they observe the use of excessive force by another law enforcement officer.

“The Bill requires that every officer, every department, every year, receive Duty to Intervene training, under the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training (CLEST)  This is mandatory, which ensures it will always be part of the training every officer will receive, from seasoned veteran to the newest rookie,” said co-sponsor Craig Christiansen, Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy in 1979.

“HB1865 is an excellent step forward for law enforcement and the people of Arkansas,” Christiansen said.

RELATED: Force used in Crawford County arrest labeled 'excessive' by experts

RELATED: Arkansas deputy seen hitting man in video accused of excessive force by 2 others

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