Doyle Votes for George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
Washington, DC – June 25, 2020 – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18) released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would transform the culture of policing, call for greater accountability for police officers, and address systemic racism in law enforcement.
“The murder of George Floyd, caught on video, outraged millions of Americans and galvanized people in Pittsburgh and around the country to demand an end to the killing of Americans – disproportionately Black and Latinx men – by law enforcement officers. Their calls have been heard – and are moving our country towards a more just society.
“But systemic racism will not change unless our laws change. We need more than a few tweaks and studies to bring about accountability and justice. Congress has a critical role in taking on the system and rewriting our laws to ensure police officers are protecting all those they are tasked to serve.
“That’s why I was an original cosponsor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and why I voted for it enthusiastically today. This legislation takes a comprehensive approach to ending excessive use of force and systemic racism in law enforcement, demilitarizing police departments and raising standards for police officers, monitoring misconduct by law enforcement officers, and holding them to greater accountability. It starts by making transformative change at the federal level and provides incentives for state and local governments to follow.
“We must not remain a country where our police forces have more military weapons than the armies in many other countries. We must not live in a society where police officers are using chokeholds and carotid holds that murder Black Americans - and families are left without a decent chance of seeing justice done. There’s no legislation we can pass to erase decades of systemic racism, but enactment of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would be an important step toward finally delivering on the principles of freedom, equality, and justice for Black Americans and other people of color in this country.
“There’s more work to be done – and I look forward to continuing this important fight – but I’m very proud of what the House has done today.”
H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would place new restrictions on the use of excessive force by police officers, ban racial profiling, promote the reinvention of police departments, and establish greater accountability for police officers accused of misconduct.
It would limit use of force by police by prohibiting the use of chokeholds and carotid holds, like the one that resulted in the murder of George Floyd, and it would ban no-knock warrants in drug-related cases. It would raise the standard for the use of force by requiring federal law enforcement officers to use force only as a last resort when necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury, and require state and local law enforcement agencies that receive federal Byrne JAG funding to establish the same more restrictive use of force standard.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would make lynching a federal crime and prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling, and it would require training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement officers.
It would also change the culture of policing by demilitarizing police units, requiring the establishment of a law enforcement accreditation standard, creating law enforcement development and training programs based on best practices, and providing public safety innovation grants to community-based organizations for creating local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop new, just, and equitable public safety approaches.
In addition, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would improve monitoring of police misconduct by mandating the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers – and requiring state and local law enforcement agencies that receive federal Byrne JAG funding to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras. It would require state and local governments that receive federal funding to report incidents involving the use of force by their law enforcement officers, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age. It would also establish a National Police Misconduct Registry containing reports on incidents involving the use of force by law enforcement officers. The Registry would allow law enforcement agencies to review the records of officers applying for jobs with them. It would prevent officers who are fired for using excessive force - or who leave a law enforcement agency after such misconduct - from moving to another jurisdiction without the opportunity for their past actions to be considered by a potential new law enforcement employer.
Finally, this bill would create greater accountability for police officers by changing the federal legal standard for prosecuting police misconduct and limiting qualified immunity so that individuals are effectively able to recover damages in cases where police officers have violated their constitutional rights. It would facilitate federal pattern and practice investigations by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power – and creating a grant program for State Attorneys General to conduct independent investigations into police departments with a history of misconduct. It would also 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.
The House passed this legislation by a vote of 236-181.