Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signs executive order calling special session on policing accountability, transparency

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers. Photo: ABC. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers.

Tommy Wiita
Updated: August 24, 2020 01:35 PM
Created: August 24, 2020 01:00 PM

On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes announced the Executive Order #84, calling on the Wisconsin State Legislature into a special session on policing accountability and transparency convening at noon on Aug. 31.

The announcement comes after Jacob Blake was shot repeatedly in the back by law enforcement in Kenosha Sunday night.

“Today I am calling for a Special Session of the Legislature to take up the package of legislation we announced earlier this year,” said Evers. “We must begin the long but important path toward ensuring our state and our country start to live up to our promises of equity and justice. I am urging the Legislature to rise to this occasion and give this special session the urgent and productive effort this moment demands and that the people of Wisconsin deserve.” 

In June, Evers called for the legislature to take up a series of policing accountability and transparency measures in the wake of widespread pleas for justice following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. As of Monday, the Wisconsin Legislature has yet to convene on the proposed measures. 

"As we move forward, if there is an unwillingness to do this important work, conversations with legislative leaders break down, or there are talks of delays until the next legislative session, as governor, I am ready and willing to use my power to call on the Legislature into special session to act," Evers said in a letter to the legislature, indicating the legislature's failure to take up these measures will follow with executive action. 

“We know we cannot remedy the systemic racism built into all of our systems with just this package of bills, but that does not mean we should stand still,” said Barnes. “For over two months, our legislative leaders have ignored the calls for change from people in every part of our state, and now another Black man is fighting for his life due to the actions of law enforcement. The people of our state are done waiting for the Legislature to act, and so are we.” 

Evers concluded his statement, saying "I know folks across our state will be making their voices heard in communities across Wisconsin. Every person should be able to make their voices heard and report on these calls to action without any fear of being unsafe. If you are exercising that right today and in the days ahead, please do so peacefully, and please wear your masks and keep physical distance as best as you can."

More from KSTP:

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent family of man shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Police shoot man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while responding to domestic incident

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