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Let Justice Roll Down: Unveiling Bicameral Justice in Policing Act

June 8, 2020

***For Immediate Release***

Press release header

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 8, 2020

Contact: Kate Stotesbery

202-225-4865

 

Let Justice Roll Down: Unveiling Bicameral Justice in Policing Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Chair of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, this morning joined his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus as an original sponsor of the bicameral Justice in Policing Act, the most sweeping police reform bill in congressional history.

“Recent killings have made all the more important asserting that Black Lives Matter and responding in a meaningful way to wrongdoing,” said Congressman Doggett. “This comprehensive legislation affirms the calls for justice rightly ringing throughout our streets: it holds police officers accountable for wrongs, ends the wall around information on use-of-force, bans chokeholds, and takes many more necessary actions. Failure by some law enforcement personnel to protect Black citizens threatens the core of our democracy—undermining confidence in government and making hollow the promise of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for so many Black neighbors. With its consideration by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, I am eager to see House approval of our bill this month.”

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 will:

  • Hold police accountable in our courts by:
    • Amending the mens rea requirement in 18 U.S.C. Section 242, the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct, from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard;
    • Reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not entirely barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights;
    • Improve the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and incentivizing state attorneys general to conduct pattern and practice investigations;
    • Incentivize states to create independent investigative structures for police involved deaths through grants; and
    • Create best practices recommendations based on the Obama 21st Century Policing Task force.
  • Improve transparency into policing by collecting better and more accurate data of police misconduct and use-of-force by:  
    • Creating a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problem-officers from changing jurisdictions to avoid accountability; and
    • Mandate state and local law enforcement agencies report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
  • Improve police training and practices by:  
    • Ending racial and religious profiling;
    • Mandating training on racial bias and the duty to intervene;
    • Banning no-knock warrants in drug cases;
    • Banning chokeholds and carotid holds;
    • Changing the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was reasonable to whether the force was necessary;
    • Limiting the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement;
    • Requiring federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras; and 
    • Requiring state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
  • Make lynching a federal crime by:
    • Making it a federal crime to conspire to violate existing federal hate crimes laws.

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