What is LEOBOR?
In the state of Florida and in 15 other states, there exists outdated legislation that gives law enforcement extra due process protections when accused of criminal activity. The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) was created during the rise of the Black Power Movement in the 1970’s. In Florida, it is FL Statute 112.532.
Garrity v. New Jersey is a pivotal Supreme Court case that stated Officers cannot be coerced to give statements through the threat of losing their job. Garrity Rights were created with a similar skeleton to Weingarten Rights, which protect workers who are in danger of losing their employment, however, the line becomes blurred when criminal investigations are directly tied to one’s employment.
Garrity Rights were so loosely interpreted that every state has different protections written in their LEOBOR, including but not limited to, a “cooling off” period before an accused officer responds to any questions, and also, unlike non LEO members of the public, the officer under investigation is made aware of the names of his complainants and their testimony against them before they are ever interrogated. They also, in most cases, receive full pay and benefits during these internal investigations.
Law Enforcement Officers should be protected by the same Constitutional Bill of Rights that all citizens are granted with no extra layers of due process based on their job title. This outdated statute places police above the law. These protections prohibit community control of the police and allow law enforcement to avoid accountability. If there is no consequence for police crimes, there is no reason for them to stop. We must abolish this law to see an end of reckless policing and a beginning to true accountability.