Historic Police Reform Bill

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) speaks as other House Democrats look on during an event on police reform at the US Capitol this past summer

WASHINGTON, DC (March 3, 2021) – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act—historic law enforcement reform legislation initially introduced during nationwide demonstrations following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, and countless other Black individuals killed and injured during interactions with police. This bill previously passed the House in June 2020, but never received a vote in the Senate due to Republican obstruction.

The Justice in Policing Act makes several key reforms:

  • Bans dangerous “No-Knock” warrants in all federal investigations of drug cases.
  • Eliminates the use of chokeholds and carotid holds by federal law enforcement.
  • Reforms “Qualified Immunity” to enable civilians to recover damages when law enforcement officers violate their constitutional rights.
  • Allows the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division broader authority to conduct investigations into discriminatory or unconstitutional policing practices by granting subpoena power to the DOJ.
  • Creates a grant program for state attorneys general to independently investigate law enforcement misconduct or excessive use of force by state and local law enforcement.
  • Forms a national police misconduct registry for officers at all levels to prevent officers with repeated violations from moving to another department or jurisdiction.
  • Prohibits any form of racial, religious, or discriminatory profiling at federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and provides DOJ-issued grants to implement best practices and trainings. All law enforcement agencies that apply for this federal funding must conduct bias trainings and report data on all investigatory activities to the DOJ.
  • Alters the use of force standard by requiring the implementation of de-escalation techniques and increasing the standard to use force only to prevent death or serious bodily injury.
  • Limits the transfer of military-grade weaponry to state and local law enforcement.
  • Orders federal uniformed police officers wear body cameras and marked federal vehicles to have dashboard cameras.

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