By Crusader Staff Report
Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA), New Jersey Senator Corey Booker and California Senator Kamala Harris and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, the first-ever such bill. The bill aims to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities.
“What we are witnessing is the birth of a new movement in our country with thousands coming together in every state marching to demand a change that ends police brutality, holds police officers accountable, and calls for transparency,” Bass said.
“For over 100 years, Black communities in America have sadly been marching against police abuse and calling for the police to protect and serve them as they do others. Never again should the world be subjected to witnessing what we saw on the streets in Minnesota with George Floyd.” Senator Booker agreed.
“America has a serious and deadly problem when it comes to the discriminatory and excessive policing of communities of color – and that policing exists within a system that time and again refuses to hold police accountable for their brutality. For too long, this has been accepted as a cruel reality of being Black in this country. And for too long, Congress has failed to act. On the back-end, the bill fixes our federal laws so law enforcement officers are held accountable for egregious misconduct and police abuses are better tracked and reported. And on the front-end, the bill improves police practices and training to prevent these injustices from happening in the first place.”
Senator Harris, who in some news report is being considered as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate on Joe Biden’s ticket, said she is hoping the bill will build trust between police and Blacks in America.
“America’s sidewalks are stained with Black blood. In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders, we must ask ourselves: how many more times must our families and our communities be put through the trauma of an unarmed Black man or woman’s killing at the hands of the very police who are sworn to protect and serve them? As a career prosecutor and former Attorney General of California, I know that real public safety requires community trust and police accountability. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this historic legislation that will get our country on a path forward.”
Some of the measures in the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 include:
Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
Bans chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
Mandates the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
Establishes a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave an agency from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
Amends federal criminal statute from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard to successfully identify and prosecute police misconduct.
Reforms qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
Establishes 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.
Creates law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices and requires the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing.
Requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
Improves the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
Establishes 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.