**LINKS WILL BE ADDED AS MORE RESPONSE AND ANALYSIS IS RELEASED TODAY**
There is only one political party actually walking the walk (or if you will, “taking a knee”) on overhauling law enforcement in the United States.
This morning, “The Justice in Policing Act of 2020,” sponsored by Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA), Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) was announced. The bill is a legislative move by the Democrats to hold police more responsible for excessive violence perpetrated on Americans, lower the bar for taking action against bad actors, and push the Justice Department to effectively investigate and prosecute misconduct within police forces.
Before announcing the legislation in Emancipation Hall, named in honor of the slaves who helped build the U.S. Capitol, and under the eye of the 1857 plaster cast of The Statue of Freedom, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and two dozen lawmakers knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Some additional provisions in the bill are listed below, provided from Paul Waldman’s opinion piece, also linked below:
- Changing rules on “qualified immunity,” which can make it almost impossible to sue police for misconduct.
- Banning chokeholds and other practices that can lead to physical harm or death.
- Ending “no-knock” warrants in drug cases.
- Requiring police departments to report data on use of force and creating a national database to track police misconduct.
- Creating a national standard saying force should be used by officers only when “necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury.”
- Limit the transfer of military equipment to local police departments.
Pelosi is promising a swift passage in the House. What the Republican-controlled, McConnell-led, Trump-lauding Senate will do with it is far from clear.
Time and time again, mass shootings in America have led to the stalling of gun legislation in Moscow McConnell’s Senate. How the upper chamber addresses this bill should be closely followed by all American voters.
Here are some links to get you familiar with the new legislation, and to help you track its movement through Congress.
UPDATED: Vox has released an article by Ella Nilsen and Li Zhou examining some of the specific measures, including a national registry to track police misconduct:
Here’s how to create a Google Alert to have current news on the bill’s progress sent directly to your IN BOX:
An article from The Sierra Sun Times, which includes statements from Bass, Booker, Harris and Nadler:
“Congressional Black Caucus Leads House Democrats and Senators to Introduce the Justice in Policing Act“
An Examination on the term “qualified immunity” and how it applies to police reform:
Civil Rights Leaders’ Statement today on the Act:
Here is the official statement from the ACLU, which applauds the effort, but feel much is lacking:
Here is the opinion piece from Paul Waldman in today’s Washington Post. The post includes a paywall, but several free reads before it’s hit:
This morning’s NYT opinion piece from Michelle Alexander, civil rights lawyer and author or “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”
(the NYT also has a paywall but allows for one free read)
Here is the text of the bill itself: https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=6939206-Justice-in-Policing-Act-Full-Bill-Text