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Washington, D.C., police union sues to block reform…

WASHINGTON, Aug 5 – Washington’s police union on Wednesday sued the District of Columbia, seeking to block part of a police reform law passed after a nationwide wave of protests over police brutality and racial justice, saying the measure was not negotiated.

The city government in the U.S. capital passed the legislation last month as demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd, a man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, led many cities to rethink approaches to policing.

The legislation included measures such as barring choke holds and placing limits on the police department’s use of non-lethal force and acquisition of military weaponry, but fell short of activists’ demands to cut funding to the police department.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the union said it was unconstitutional for it to be the only labor union in the federal district stripped of the right to negotiate with management regarding discipline of their members.

“While the Union remains in agreement with many of the provisions in the law, there are recently enacted sections that are catastrophic to our employee rights and protections under the law,” the union said in a statement.

The union said reduced employee protections under the law would make it more difficult to recruit qualified candidates and had already led to police officers planning early retirements or quitting in order to work in other jurisdictions.

Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters on Wednesday that she had not yet reviewed the lawsuit.

“It’s not uncommon for people to take issue with district laws. And we will review it with our lawyers and pursue a defense of the district,” she said at a news conference.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)

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