This week, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty for killing George Floyd. Also, the U.S. Department of Justice announced its probe into the Minneapolis Police Department for Systemic Civil Rights Violations. Vice President Kamala Harris stated that this is really only the beginning and that there is much more that needs to be done. Vice President Harris and President Joe Biden are committed to see Police Reform on the Federal level.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 is a civil rights and police reform bill which was principally drafted by Democrat Congresswoman Karen Bass of California and Democrat Congressman Jerold Nadler of New York. In the Senate, the legislation was drafted by Vice President Kamala Harris who at the time was Senator of California and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. The legislation was introduced in the House as H.B. 7120 on June 8, 2020, by Congresswoman Bass, with 165 Democrat co-sponsors. The bill passed the Democrat controlled House on a predominately party-line vote 236–181 on June 17, 2020.
- The bill establishes new requirements for law enforcement officers and agencies, including to report data on use-of-force incidents, to obtain training on implicit bias and racial profiling.
- Establishes a framework to prohibit racial profiling at the federal, state, and local levels.
- Bans chokeholds and carotid holds at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning chokeholds.
- Bans no-knock warrants in drug cases at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning no-knock warrants at the local and state level.
- Requires that deadly force be used only as a last resort and requires officers to employ de-escalation techniques first.
- Changes the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was “reasonable” to whether the force was “necessary.”
- Condition grants on state and local law enforcement agencies’ establishing the same use of force standard.
- Limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
- Requires federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
- Establish a national standard for the operation of police departments.
- Mandate data collection on police encounters.
- Reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs.
- Streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.
- Makes it easier to prosecute offending officers by amending the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct.
The bill has yet to gain votes in the Senate.
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