Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

June 22, 2022

Looney Highlights Sponsored Bill Protecting Individuals in Police Custody Requiring Medical Attention

Today, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) highlighted a bill he sponsored in the 2022 legislative session and secured passage in the State Senate which would have required the provision of immediate emergency medical services to an individual who experiences a health emergency while in the custody or control of a peace officer. The bill, which did not pass the House of Representatives, is gaining increased interest following the news of a suspect in the custody of the New Haven Police Department who was seriously injured during transport.

Senate Bill 445, An Act Concerning the Provision of Emergency Medical Services to an Individual Who Is in the Custody or Control of a Peace Officer, passed the Connecticut State Senate on a vote of 34-0 on April 26 of this year but no further action was taken. When the bill was before the Judiciary Committee, Senator Looney submitted written testimony stating “creating this civil right would ensure that these medical needs are met by appropriately trained medical staff. Encouraging clinical interventions by medical staff would allow police officers to remain focused on public safety and allow emergent medical needs to be addressed by medical personnel.”

Senator Looney sponsored the bill after speaking with the Medical Civil Rights Initiative which was organized by a group of physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The goal of the group is to address the statutory gap that leads to poor medical outcomes for persons who have pre-arrest encounters with law enforcement.

Today, Senator Looney stated, “the recent events in New Haven highlight the need for this legislation and perhaps additional protections for people in police custody. Being arrested is not cause for delaying or denying emergency medical treatment to anyone. Such actions are a violation of a person’s civil rights and a perversion of our justice system.”