Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. The bill would make a number of reforms to policing to increase accountability and decrease violence, including banning chokeholds, ending the use of no-knock warrants for drug crimes, limiting the transfer of military equipment to state and local law enforcement, and mandating that body cameras be worn at all times by federal officers.
It also ends the qualified immunity which protects police who engage in misconduct from being held accountable, mandates data collection on police encounters, and supports critical community-based programs to reimagine public safety. Judy Chu (CA-27) voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and issued the following statement:
“By galvanizing the country and motivating marchers and protesters in every state, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have changed this country forever. But they should not have had to die to do so. Today, the House took historic action to curb police brutality, increase accountability, and reform the needlessly aggressive practices that led to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others.
“This bill takes an important step towards ending police brutality by ending the use of chokeholds and banning no-knock warrants for drug cases. It also ends the sale of military equipment to state and local police while requiring more training. But for there to be true justice, there must also be accountability – something which has been denied to so many families because of qualified immunity for police. This immunity flies in the face of the very rule of law that police officers are sworn to uphold and so today, I voted to end it so that those police who break the law or violate the rights of others are subject to the same laws as the rest of us.
“But any reform proposal needs to have solutions that will change the culture of policing. Thus, this bill not only prohibits racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling at the federal, state and local level, but also mandates training on this. It provides resources to states and localities to implement reforms, provide trainings, and collect disaggregated data on law enforcement actions. It gives grants to community-based organizations to create local commissions to create just and equitable public safety standards. And, it creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
“As opposed to the version proposed by Senate Republicans, the policies in this bill are real reforms that will bring about real change. We do not need more studies or debates in Washington while American people continue to be murdered just because they are Black. The American people are demanding change. The House has responded by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. I urge the Senate to do so as well, before we inevitably find ourselves in this situation, mourning the unjustifiable death of a Black American at the hands of police – once again.”