WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tonight, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-5), voted to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, historic legislation to address systemic racism in police departments across the country, hold officers accountable to the communities they serve, and end police brutality in America.
“For too long, our Black neighbors have been brutalized and killed, their bodies criminalized and their dreams upended, because of the color of their skin. We cannot wait any longer for transformative reform to confront systematic racism and reimagine public safety in America,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “The Justice in Policing Act will redefine the relationship between law enforcement and our communities, changing the culture of policing from warrior to guardian. My vote is in honor of George, Breonna, Ahmaud, Trayvon, Elijah, Tamir and countless others who lost their lives to racism. With the passage of this bill, we begin our march forward towards real justice and equality for all.”
“The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act directly addresses the urgent need to make law enforcement more responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable, more transparent, and more accountable to the communities they serve,” said Brian Corr, immediate past president of the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE). “This is a necessary step for transforming the culture of policing, so that all officers see themselves as guardians of public safety in their communities, instead of warriors on a mission to fight ‘the bad guys’.”
The Justice in Policing Act of 2021:
- 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.
- Stops sexual assault in law enforcement custody by making 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. It prohibits consent as a defense to prosecution for unlawful conduct.
Full text of the legislation is available here.
A fact sheet on the Justice in Policing Act of 2021 is available here.