UPDATE (06/26/20): The House has passed HR 7210 with a final vote of 236-181. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
As nationwide protests against police brutality continue unabated in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) have introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 This legislation proposes the most comprehensive reforms to policing in nearly 50 years.
-Amending the U.S. Code to lower the legal standard of “mens rea”, making prosecution of misconduct easier.
-Reforming qualified immunity for police officers to allow individuals to recover damages when their constitutional rights are violated.
-Establishing a National Police Misconduct Registry to track police misconduct and thwart officers from switching jurisdictions to avoid accountability;
-Mandating training on racial bias and the duty to intervene;
-Placing limits the transfer of military-grade weapons to state and local law enforcement agencies and requiring the use of body cameras;
-Empowering state attorneys general and the Justice Department to play a much larger role in its oversight of police agencies;
Allowing the federal government to restrict funding for state and local police agencies that fail to adopt the policies and training aimed at combating racial bias and profiling;
Banning the use of choke-holds;
Banning “no-knock” warrants in drug-related cases; and
Making lynching a federal crime.
Demand your members of Congress support HR 7120/S 3912, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. While it does not solve the problem of systemic racism inherent in modern policing, placing these limits on their power will go a long way to limiting unchecked violence in black communities.