Democrats In Congress Introduce ‘Justice In Policing Act’ For Police Reform

( Congressional Democrats on Monday revealed sweeping legislation that seeks to overhaul how policing is done throughout the country.

As protests over police brutality and the use of excessive force by officers continue to grip America, the Democrats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate have unveiled what they’re calling the “Justice in Policing Act.” Among the measures in it is a ban on chokeholds like the one that was used by a police officer in Minneapolis that ultimately led to the death of George Floyd.

In addition, the bill would ban no-knock warrants in drug cases. That was used in a March incident in Louisville, Kentucky, that led to the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

If passed, the bill would require local police departments to send data to the federal government on the use of force within their departments. It would also create a grant program allowing state attorneys general to create an investigative process into excessive use of force or misconduct that was completely independent.

It would also make it easier for people to recover damages if and when certain police departments violate their civil rights, and it would label lynching as a federal hate crime. There are more than 200 co-sponsors of the bill in the House and Senate.

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference announcing the bill:

“The martyrdom of George Floyd gave the American experience a moment of national anguish as we grieve for the black Americans killed by police brutality today. This moment of national anguish is being transformed into a movement of national action as Americans from across the country peacefully protest to demand an end to injustice.”

The House is expected to hold hearings on the bill over the next few weeks, and eventually take a vote on it. There is widespread expectation that the bill will pass the House, and Pelosi said she hoped the Senate and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would “swiftly” hold hearings and a vote on the bill.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader, said Democrats in the Senate “are going to fight like hell” to make the bill “a reality.” He further said the “poison of racism” has permeated much of life in America, stretching beyond police and the criminal justice system overall.

Democratic leaders in Congress believe the attention the protesters around the country are grabbing will help in passing the legislation that they say is long overdue.

Jim Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, said white people came to America willingly, and they came here and found a place that was “full of liberty and justice.” Black people, in contrast, were brought to America against their will and have continued to suffer injustices ever since.

“Think about how long that is, how many generations that is. It’s a long time,” Clyburn said.

Referencing how long former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck in the fateful incident, Cylburn said: “Eight minutes and 46 seconds. That’s a long time to be on one knee, but for 244 years, there were plenty of knees on the necks of blacks who came to this country.”