Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard Votes for Passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

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Washington, June 25, 2020 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) voted for H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which passed the House of Representatives.  This legislation is a bold and comprehensive effort to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the culture of law enforcement, and empower our communities.  It will also build trust between law enforcement and our communities by addressing systemic racism and bias to help save lives.

“Americans across the country, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, are marching in the streets to declare the fundamental truth that Black Lives Matter, and to demand justice for all the lives lost at the hands of police brutality,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard.  “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a bold bill to fight racial injustice, prevent police brutality, and save lives.”

“This bill is not the end-all solution.  It will not end the root causes of systemic racism and police brutality.  Nor will it address the systems of oppression that have affected communities of color for centuries.  Creating an equal, just, and inclusive America is critical work we all still have ahead of us.  But the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a positive step in the right direction.  And it is a firm declaration by Congress that Black Lives Matter.”

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the culture of law enforcement, empower our communities, and build trust between law enforcement and our communities by addressing systemic racism and bias to help save lives.  The Justice in Policing Act will: 1) establish a national standard for the operation of police departments; 2) mandate data collection on police encounters; 3) reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs; and 4) streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will: 
 
Work to End Racial & Religious Profiling 

• Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling.

• Mandate training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement. 

• Require law enforcement to collect data on all investigatory activities.

Save Lives by Banning Chokeholds & No-Knock Warrants 

• Ban chokeholds and carotid holds at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning chokeholds.

• Ban no-knock warrants in drug cases at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning no-knock warrants at the local and state level. 

• Require that deadly force be used only as a last resort and requires officers to employ de-escalation techniques first. Change the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was “reasonable” to whether the force was “necessary.” Condition grants on state and local law enforcement agencies’ establishing the same use of force standard.

Limit Military Equipment on American Streets & Require Body Cameras 

• Limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.

• Require federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras. 

• Require marked federal police vehicles to have dashboard cameras.

Hold Police Accountable in Court 

• Make it easier to prosecute offending officers by amending the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct. The mens rea requirement in 18 U.S.C. Section 242 will be amended from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard. 

• Enable individuals to recover damages in civil court when law enforcement officers violate their constitutional rights by eliminating qualified immunity for law enforcement.

Investigate Police Misconduct 

• Improve the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power, and create a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments. 

Empower Our Communities to Reimagine Public Safety in an Equitable and Just Way 

• Reinvest in our communities by supporting critical community-based programs to change the culture of law enforcement and empower our communities to reimagine public safety in an equitable and just way. 

• 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. These local commissions would operate similar to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.   

Change the Culture of Law Enforcement with Training to Build Integrity and Trust 

• Require the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing.

• Create law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices.

• Study the impact of laws or rules that allow a law enforcement officer to delay answers to questions posed by investigators of law enforcement misconduct.

• Enhance funding for pattern and practice discrimination investigations and programs managed by the DOJ Community Relations Service.

• Require the Attorney General to collect data on investigatory actions and detentions by federal law enforcement agencies; the racial distribution of drug charges; the use of deadly force by and against law enforcement officers; as well as traffic and pedestrian stops and detentions.

• Establish a DOJ task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.

Improve Transparency by Collecting Data on Police Misconduct and Use-of-Force

• Create a nationwide police misconduct registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.

• Mandate state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.

Stop Sexual Assault in Law Enforcement Custody 

• Make it a crime for a federal law enforcement officer to engage in a sexual act with an individual who is under arrest, in detention, or in custody.  Prohibit consent as a defense to prosecution for unlawful conduct. Incentivize states to set the same standards.

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