Democrats Offer Major Police Reform Plan
Baldwin, Moore, Pocan push bill stressing transparency, accountability, banning chokeholds, racial profiling.
Congressional Democrats outlined their vision for sweeping police reforms on Capitol Hill Monday, following weeks of nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“Never again should the world be subjected to witnessing what we saw on the streets of Minneapolis: the slow murder of an individual by a uniformed police officer,” said Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat and the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, at a news conference announcing the effort.
The legislation, titled the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, includes a series of measures aimed at increasing police accountability, barring racial profiling and increasing transparency surrounding officers’ actions.
It would ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants at the federal level, limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement officials, and require state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data broken down by race and other characteristics.
“This legislation makes it clear that police departments are serving and are answerable to all the residents in their communities, including African Americans,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
“We cannot settle for anything less than transformative, structural change,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday. “This is a first step. There is more to come.”
House Democratic leaders said they expect to soon hold hearings and a floor vote on the legislation, which they expect to pass the chamber. Its prospects of clearing the GOP-led Senate and becoming law, however, appear slim.
As Democrats are calling for sweeping changes, the Senate’s top Republican, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, told reporters last week that “there may be a role” for lawmakers in response to police brutality. He said senators would be discussing “what, if anything, is appropriate for us to do.”
The House voted earlier this year to make lynching a federal hate crime, but the effort has been blocked in the Senate due to objections from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, The New York Times reported last week. The police reform legislation unveiled this week would also make lynching a federal hate crime.
“We’re here because black Americans want to stop being killed,” Harris said Monday. “Reform and change must happen and it must happen now.”
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
- MKE County: Supervisors Want Chokehold Ban Codified - Graham Kilmer - Sep 17th, 2020
- Suspect arrested for pointing and aiming a long gun at protesters - Milwaukee Police Department - Sep 16th, 2020
- Policing Protests Is More Than ‘Law and Order’ - Henry Redman - Sep 16th, 2020
- Protest Day 108: BLM March Goes to East Side, Shorewood - Ethan Duran - Sep 14th, 2020
- Officer Accused Of Reckless Homicide Resigns - Corri Hess - Sep 9th, 2020
- Task Force Seeks Bipartisan Policing Reform - Laurel White - Sep 8th, 2020
- Op Ed: No Equality Without Specific Solutions - John Torinus - Sep 6th, 2020
- Op Ed: Kenosha Is Charlottesville - U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore - Aug 31st, 2020
- Justice Can’t Wait: Representative Subeck Decries Republican Delays to Justice Reform Package - State Rep. Lisa Subeck - Aug 31st, 2020
- GOP Legislators Skip Special Session on Police - Laurel White - Aug 31st, 2020
Read more about 2020 Racial Justice Protests here