House Democrats to Republican Senate: Pass George Floyd Policing Act!

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[George Floyd Justice in Policing Act]
Rep. Meeks: “Changing the culture of law enforcement requires both transparency and accountability of officers."
Photo: YouTube

House Democrats are calling on the Mitch McConnell Senate to pass the George Floyd Policing Act.

Today, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Representatives Gregory Meeks (NY-05), David Cicilline (RI-01), Donald Payne (NJ-10), Jahana Hayes (CT-05) held a call with regional reporters calling on the Senate to take up the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House in June with bipartisan support.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act reimagines policing for the 21st Century by banning chokeholds, stopping no-knock warrants, combatting racial profiling, eliminating qualified immunity, and mandating data collection, including body cameras and dashboard cameras.

In contrast to the historic George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the President’s weak Executive Order and Senate Republicans’ proposal, which was rejected on a bipartisan basis, both fall sadly and seriously short of what is required to combat the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality – failing to contain meaningful, mandatory accountability measures to end misconduct.

“It has been two weeks since the House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. While some try to turn the page and shift the focus, we are demanding that the Senate take up this bipartisan bill immediately,” said Chairman Nadler. “This bill includes necessary measures to restore public confidence and help build trust between law enforcement and our communities. As I’ve said before, thoughts and prayers are entirely insufficient. We cannot let this moment pass us. Congress must heed the voices of the people and put this bill on the desk of the President.”

“Changing the culture of law enforcement requires both transparency and accountability of officers and their departments. However, while the Senate police reform bill merely suggests that departments be more transparent and accountable, the House’s Justice in Policing Act has the teeth to make these reforms a reality. If the Senate wants to take seriously the calls for rebuilding our communities relationship with law enforcement, they will bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act for a vote,” said Rep. Meeks.

“The House passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act two weeks ago, and today we are calling on the Senate take it up without delay,” Rep. Cicilline said. “The murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others has led to a nationwide movement across the country of Americans demanding true police reforms and ensuring that all Americans receive equal justice under the law. Leader McConnell should take up the House-passed bipartisan bill and do so immediately, so that we can save lives.”

“Hopefully, this bill will close an ugly chapter in American history,” said Rep. Payne. “For too long, many Americans were considered dangerous and violent simply because of the color of their skin. We passed a bill to ban lynching in the House of Representatives already, but chokeholds are the 21st century’s version of legalized lynching. This bill will eliminate chokeholds and the racial profiling that has killed far too many Americans across the country. It will end the “no-knock” warrants, which have allowed police officers to violate the sanctity of African-American homes and the privacy of African-American homeowners. And it will create a nationwide standard for police conduct so that we can stop police brutality against minorities. I am proud to have voted for this bill and honored to be part of the Congressional Black Caucus that made it happen. All lives will matter when Black lives matter.”

“The Justice In Policing Act is a historic step toward achieving justice for marginalized Americans and rebuilding trust between police and the communities they serve,” said Rep. Hayes. “Our nation is in a crisis of violence and racial inequity. The solution is two-fold: hold police officers accountable for misconduct, and provide necessary resources for training and rebuilding of trust. The Justice in Policing Act does just that. I was proud to work with the CBC on the development of this legislation, and to vote for it on the floor of the House. Our communities can not wait one more day. The Senate must take up and pass the Justice In Policing Act now.”

The George Floyd Justice In Policing Act has been endorsed by Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice; and John Crawford, Jr., father of John Crawford III as well as leading civil rights and social justice groups such as the NAACP, National Action Network, Urban League and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

More than 750 celebrities and entertainment companies endorsed the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act such as Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Lizzo, Meek Mill, Elton John, Kelly Rowland, Justin Bieber, Miguel, Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, Jonas Brothers, Alyssa Milano and Ariana Grande, among others.

The bill was endorsed by leading corporations, including Hewlett Packard (HP), law enforcement such as National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and the National Fraternal Order of Police President issued a positive statement on the bill, noting there are provisions that would have a “positive impact on law enforcement and policing.”

THE GEORGE FLOYD JUSTICE IN POLICING ACT:

  • 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 offices 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 on 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.

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