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Congressional Democrats introduce sweeping legislation to reform police


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and other top Democrats in the House and the Senate on Monday introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a bold and sweeping overhaul of police oversight and procedures, in response to the mass protests across the United States denouncing the deaths of black Americans and police brutality at the hands of law enforcement.

“America has a serious and deadly problem when it comes to the discriminatory and excessive policing of communities of color – and that policing exists within a system that time and again refuses to hold police accountable for their brutality,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in a statement introducing the bill. “For too long, this has been accepted as a cruel reality of being black in this country. We are forced to figure out how to keep ourselves safe from law enforcement and we are viewed as a threat to be protected against instead of people worth protecting. And for too long, Congress has failed to act.

“That ends today with the landmark Justice in Policing Act which, for the first time in history, will take a comprehensive approach to ending police brutality,” Booker added. “On the back-end, the bill fixes our federal laws so law enforcement officers are held accountable for egregious misconduct and police abuses are better tracked and reported. And on the front-end, the bill improves police practices and training to prevent these injustices from happening in the first place.”

Among a list of other things, Justice in Policing Act of 2020 prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement. It bans chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level. It establishes 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.