A group of congressional Democrats has unveiled legislation that will bring sweeping changes to U.S. law enforcement.
In large part, Democrats claim the bill — crafted in response to the death of George Floyd — would increase transparency and accountability in law enforcement nationwide.
The Congressional Black Caucus authored the Justice in Policing Act to address the use of excessive force by police, specifically in black and minority communities.
“We just announced the first-ever comprehensive police accountability and reform bill to: – Create a national standard for use of force – Expand pattern and practice investigations into police departments – Increase independent investigations into police misconduct,” California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris said.
The prosecution would remove provisions under the qualified immunity doctrine, which provides protections to police officers and departments.
The package would also demilitarize the police by limiting the transfer of military weaponry to state and local police departments.
It would also require body and dashboard cameras, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants for drug cases, and create a national database disclosing the names of officers with patterns of abuse.
Top Democrats are all-in on this bill.
“This large, diverse group, so many of them young, gives us hope that Americans are prepared to march and fight to make this a more perfect union, once and for all. And so today, we are taking the first of many steps,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuch Schumer.
Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Karen Bass, a California Democrat, said: “Never again should the world be subjected to witnessing what we saw on the streets in Minneapolis, the slow murder of an individual by a uniformed police officer. The world is witnessing the birth of a new movement in our country. This movement has now spread to many nations around the world with thousands marching to register their horror and hearing the cry: ‘I can’t breathe.’”
“We cannot settle for anything less than transformative structural change,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Here’s the best part: Democrats apparently have not spoken with Republicans about the bill, what’s in it, and whether they would even support it.
House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, a Louisana Republican, said Democrats have not come to them with anything regarding police reform.
“As far as the Democrat package, they haven’t been talking to Republicans about this, so I’m not sure what they’re going to be rolling out. But clearly, if somebody abuses their power, in any position of law enforcement, there needs to be accountability,” he said.
Several Democratic lawmakers and left-wingers are calling for defunding in several major cities, including Washington and New York City.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it very clear this week that he does not support calls to defund police departments and that any measures will be rejected in the Senate.