Members of the Massachusetts delegation backed sweeping legislation to overhaul police practices and accountability following the killing of George Floyd and sweeping nationwide protests decrying the use of excessive force against Black Americans.
The Justice In Policing Act, spearheaded by Rep. Ayanna Pressley and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, drew a number of other original co-sponsors as well, including Rep. Katherine Clark, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Among other things, the bill would bar chokeholds and federal no-knock warrants, limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement, mandate the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for all federal law enforcement officers and create a national police misconduct registry to prevent police officers who are fired or on leave from being hired by another law enforcement agency.
“For centuries, our policing laws and practices have traumatized Black communities and shielded law enforcement from accountability,” Clark said in a statement. “We must change the policies at the root of these racial inequities so that every mom and spouse has the same assumption of safety for their family that I have for mine.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Joe Kennedy and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York introduced the Bend Toward Justice Act, which would lower the standard of proof in criminal cases involving civil rights violations from “willfulness” to “recklessness.”
"It isn't enough to simply reform our police departments, we must fundamentally change the way we police in this country,” Kennedy said in a statement. “That begins by tearing down barriers to accountability when police officers violate the civil rights of Black and Brown Americans.”
Original story here.