The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

For too long, the relationships between our communities and some law enforcement officers sworn to protect them has been strained and often spoiled. Innocent men and women have too often been unjustifiably beaten and murdered at the hands of some police officers. 

Unfortunately, our history is littered with examples of these unjustified tragedies. The George Floyd murder is but one example. 

Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives again passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which will fundamentally transform policing in America as it addresses systemic racism, curbs brutality, and saves lives. This legislation includes bold reforms, such as banning chokeholds, stopping the issuance of no-knock warrants, ending the court-created qualified immunity doctrine, combating racial profiling, and establishing strong new standards and protections to prevent excessive use of force. 

This critical legislation will ensure accountability and reduce misconduct. It will be a tool to root out bias and promote better relationships between officers and the communities they serve.

Video

Play Button
Click above to watch my remarks on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
from the U.S. House Floor. 


I am grateful to the many men and women that serve and protect our communities with dignity, day-in and day-out. While most officers take their oath very seriously, we must hold those who violate public trust accountable, just as we would any other citizen. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will do just that.
 
As you may remember, this bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives last year, one month after Mr. Floyd’s death. This year, I hope to see President Biden sign this measure into law.

Until then, I’d like to share a few highlights from the legislation so you can better understand what the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will do for our communities and our nation.

THE GEORGE FLOYD JUSTICE IN POLICING ACT

  • Works to End Racial Profiling by requiring all law enforcement officers to participate in training to recognize bias and discriminatory practices. It also requires the collection of data on all investigatory activities to ensure that patterns of racial profiling can be identified and rooted out.
  • Holds Police Accountable by amending the law that currently limits the authority of prosecutors to hold police officers accountable for their misconduct. The bill will also eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement personnel, making it possible for individuals to sue for civil damages when their constitutional and civil rights have been violated.
     
  • Investigates Systemic Police Misconduct by granting the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division the power to subpoena and creating a grant program for state attorneys-general to develop authority to conduct independent inquiries and investigate police departments where there is evidence of a pattern of misconduct.
  • Bans Police Chokeholds and carotid holds for all federal law enforcement officers. It also conditions all federal funding for state and local governments on implementing this ban on their own law enforcement agencies.
     
  • Bans No-Knock Warrants like the one that led to the death of Breonna Taylor in her own home. These tactics will be made illegal at the federal level, with federal funds to state and local authorities conditioned on banning the practice.
  • Requires Officers to Wear Body Cameras, specifically the bill will require all federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras and will condition federal funds for state and local governments on their officers’ use of body cameras as well. It will also require that federal police vehicles are all equipped with dashboard cameras.
     
  • Limits Military Equipment on American Streets, this will limit the transfer of military-grade equipment from the Pentagon to state and local law enforcement agencies.
     
  • Changes the Culture of Law Enforcement by establishing a Department of Justice Task Force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution, and enforcement of federal, state, and local governments in cases relating to police misconduct. It will also require the Justice Department to collect data nationwide on investigatory actions and detentions by federal law enforcement agencies, the racial distribution of drug charges, traffic, and pedestrian stops and detentions, and the use of deadly force by and against law enforcement officers.
  • Initiates Reconciliation with Communities by establishing public safety innovation grants, which will support community-based organizations working to create local commissions and task forces that help communities reimagine and develop more just and more equitable approaches to public safety.

While this bill is named after Mr. Floyd, it honors all the men and women who have unjustifiably been hurt or killed because of brutality. This legislation is the first step to addressing the issue of excessive racial profiling in policing at the federal level.

Sincerely,

Kweisi Mfume

For the latest updates from my office, be sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram