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Article Published August 4, 2020

After Threats, ‘Unboycott’ Group Shows Support for Cohen

By Jesse Williams/Zip06.com

A couple dozen people from around the state spent a few hours in front of Cohen’s Bagels on Aug. 1 as part of what organizers described as an “unboycott,” showing support for State Senator Christine Cohen (D-12) following her vote in favor of the controversial police accountability bill and social media threats of a boycott against her business, as well as what Cohen described as more personal attacks.

Among the close to 550 comments on Cohen’s Facebook post that mentioned the threats and laid out her position on the bill, many expressed anger at and disapproval of the bill, while many thanked Cohen for the vote and denounced the threats she received.

The bill in question, which was signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont on July 31, contains a number of provisions, including the modification of qualified immunity. The law allows civil lawsuits against police officers who “deprive any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws of this state, or of the equal privileges and immunities under the laws of [Connecticut]” when their actions are “deliberate, willful or committed with reckless indifference.”

It also holds police officers personally liable only if their actions are found in court to be “malicious, wanton or willful.”

Republican Joe LaPorta, who is running against Cohen for the 12th District senate seat, called for Lamont to veto the bill in a video posted to Facebook last week, citing “the possibility for expensive, frivolous lawsuits” and mass police retirements among other things.

The “unboycott” was organized in part by members of Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible, which describes itself as a non-partisan advocacy group supporting progressive causes along the shoreline.