House passes police reform bill
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (H.R. 7120) passed the House of Representatives today.
The legislation represents an important step toward mending the relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 will:
- Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial profiling and mandate training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
- Ban chokeholds, carotid holds, and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
- Mandate the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers and require state and local law enforcement to ensure the use of police body cameras.
- Establish a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent officers who are fired from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
- Reform qualified immunity so individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
- Establish public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches.
- Create law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices.
- Require state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
- Create a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
- Establish a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.
“At this moment in history, Congress must enact corrective policies to revitalize the critical role that police must play in keeping our communities safe and to ensure that all Americans have equal protection under the law,” said Congresswoman Elaine Luria, D-Va. “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act lays out an effective and comprehensive plan to rebuild the relationship between communities and the police, ensure accountability, and safeguard public safety for all Americans. I urge the Senate to quickly bring this historic reform legislation to the floor for a vote.”
“People across our country – in fact, people around the world – are protesting in the streets because they believe in a better America — an America where equal justice under the law is more than an empty platitude. They deserve for their Congress to rise to meet this moment in our nation’s history — to make clear once and for all that no one should be above the law because they wear a badge. That is why I am proud to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act today. Too many lives have been taken and too many communities have been devastated by police brutality and racial profiling in our country for us to wait any longer. Real action is long overdue,” said Congressman Donald McEachin, D-Va.
“The George Floyd Justice In Policing Act is a step towards justice and accountability. We cannot bring George Floyd or Breonna Taylor or Eric Garner or Tamir Rice back, but we owe it to them and the many others who should not have died to try to stop it from happening again,” said Congressman Don Beyer, D-Va. “All lives will not matter until Black lives matter. I thank the Congressional Black Caucus for their leadership drafting strong, ambitious legislation that our country needs right now.”
“The brutal killing of George Floyd captured, on video, the centuries of injustices perpetrated against our Black communities. In time, we will all be judged on whether we sought to transform a status quo that has senselessly stolen the lives of countless spouses, brothers, sisters, parents, and friends. It falls on all of us to recognize our role in the renewed fight against discrimination and systemic racism,” said Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. “This legislation — named in George Floyd’s memory — would ban chokeholds, eliminate long-standing biases, protect funding for critical community policing initiatives, reform qualified immunity, and increase accountability for misconduct. Additionally, it would reduce the trend of militarization in local police departments across the country. For generations, our country has failed to live up to the promise of equal justice under law, but together, we have an opportunity in this moment to make Central Virginia a safer and more compassionate place for all.”
Voting against the measure was Congressman Rob Wittman, R-Va.
“We know if things need to get done, they need to be done in a bipartisan way with input and buy-in from both sides. That’s how we were able to get things done in response to the Coronavirus. The Democrats know this and yet they refused to work with Republicans to craft a police reform bill that included items we all support and actually has a chance of being signed into law,” Wittman said. “Today, the Democrats brought their police reform legislation, H.R. 7120, to the floor for a vote. This measure was drafted unilaterally, without seeking out or including any Republican input, and without allowing any amendments to be added on the floor. Even before this measure reached the floor, all Republican amendments offered in the Judiciary Committee and the Rules Committee were rejected, disallowing any Republican input whatsoever in this process. The fact that there was no effort from the Democrats to include Republicans suggests that this bill was meant as a messaging bill and not a serious piece of legislation.”