The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 is a bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, 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.
Last Congress, the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act passed by a bipartisan vote of 236 to 181. Every House Democrat and three Republicans voted in support of the bill, including Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Will Hurd (R-TX).
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a vote on the current bill next week.
Under the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, for the first time ever federal law would: 1) ban chokeholds; 2) end racial and religious profiling; 3) eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement; 4) establish national standard for the operation of police departments; 5) mandate data collection on police encounters; 6) reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs; and 7) streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.
“Last summer, hundreds of thousands demanded change that ends police brutality, holds police officers accountable and calls for transparency in our system of policing. Due to inaction, more than 100 unarmed people have been killed or brutalized by police since then. For more than 100 years, Black communities in America have sadly been marching against police abuse and calling for the police to protect and serve us as they do others,” Bass said in a statement.
The congresswoman added, “Last year, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support but was neglected in the Senate and by the White House. After we marched, we voted, and today we re-introduce the bill with renewed hope that it will become law.”
“I worked closely with Rep. Karen Bass last Congress on the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, and am grateful to resume our partnership this year to reintroduce this critical legislation,” said Chairman Nadler. He added, “This legislation addresses police misconduct and excessive force, while creating greater transparency within law enforcement, and grants victims more direct avenues for redress.”
Some key parts of the legislation:
- 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.