Burlington Progressives call for review of police use of force policy

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Progressives on Burlington's City Council are calling for a review of the Burlington Police use of force policy.

Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo, the City of Burlington, Sgt. Jason Bellavance, Ofc. Joseph Corrow and Ofc. Cory Campbell are facing two separate federal lawsuits accusing excessive force and brutality.

One lawsuit says Sgt. Jason Bellavance shoved Jeremie Meli, causing him to hit his head and pass out.

The second lawsuit accuses Ofc. Joseph Corrow of slamming Mabior Jok to the ground, knocking him unconscious.

Chief del Pozo says the department has made sure to reiterate proper tactics and procedures.

"We want to bring three things into harmony. Our policy, our training and our culture. That is hard everywhere. I'm not saying I do it perfectly or well. I try to lead by example, I try to offer accountability but that is a goal that were going to have," said Chief del Pozo.

Burlington City Councilors Perri Freeman, Jack Hanson, Brian Pine and
Max Tracy say they want a thorough review of the Burlington Police use of force policy.

In a statement, the Progressive City Councilors say they hope to adopt a policy that ensures meaningful protections, training, including training in trauma and de-escalation techniques, and accountability to ensure that law enforcement officers exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to the use of force and to broadly prevent all forms of police violence.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for May 13.