As an Original Cosponsor, Lowey Supports the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, Legislation to Transform the Culture of Policing and Help Save Lives

June 8, 2020
Press Release

Bold, Unprecedented Reforms Led by the Congressional Black Caucus Chair Bass, Senators Booker and Harris, and Chair Nadler, are a Step Toward Addressing Systemic Racism

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, today joined more than 200 House and Senate Democrats as an original cosponsor of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, the first-ever comprehensive approach to combatting the pattern of police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.

“We have seen far too many Black lives taken by police without accountability,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Action is long overdue, and I’m proud to join my colleagues in the House and Senate, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, in taking this critical step toward justice. We are under no illusion that this legislation alone will end racism in America, which we must collectively work to dismantle in all forms, but it brings us one step closer to dramatically changing the culture of law enforcement in Black communities. We cannot be timid in our response to ongoing police brutality and racial injustice.”

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would:

  • Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandate training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
     
  • Ban chokeholds, carotid holds, and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
     
  • Mandate the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers and require state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
     
  • Establish a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave an agency from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
     
  • Amend federal criminal statute from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard to successfully identify and prosecute police misconduct.
     
  • Reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
     
  • Establish public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches.
     
  • Create law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices and require the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing.
     
  • Require state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, and age.
     
  • Improve the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and create a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
     
  • Establish a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution, and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.

Full text of the legislation is available here. A section-by-section summary of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is available here, and a fact sheet on the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is available here as prepared by the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Committee on the Judiciary.

 

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