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house Bill H.R. 7120

Justice in Policing Act: Incentivizing Bans on Chokeholds & No-Knock Search Warrants in Drug Cases, and Stopping Police Militarization

Argument in favor

The Justice in Policing Act would ban chokeholds plus no-knock search warrants in drug cases at the federal level & incentivize states to do the same, prohibit racial & religious profiling, demilitarize law enforcement, and improve data transparency in policing.

larubia's Opinion
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06/24/2020
No chokeholds . No qualified immunity. No no-knock warrants. This is where we begin. To do less is unacceptable.
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Adam's Opinion
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06/24/2020
Qualified immunity absolutely has to be eliminated. It is unacceptable that we, the people, have no viable method of holding our law enforcement officials accountable. That is the single most important provision in this law that will make the most positive impact in our communities.
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Dicr's Opinion
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06/24/2020
It’s a start in the right direction so republicans will surely block it. Unfortunately we won’t get reform till we remove the dotard and his bitch Moscow Mitch.
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Argument opposed

This bill relies too heavily on top-down, federally mandated changes that should be made at the state & local level and risks undermining civil order. Alternatively, law enforcement agencies should be entirely defunded, rather than reformed to make changes.

B.R.'s Opinion
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06/24/2020
I would not support this bill as written. It needs a lot of work. Additionally, some items are very questionable: 1: Banning chokeholds and no-knock search warrants - If we are serious about this, why is the ban only at the Federal level, but only an incentive at the state level? Makes no sense; 2: Under Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act - It recommends to restrict purchases for counter drug & border security. What the hell does this have to do with this subject matter? Last, but not least - I resent the tone of this bill. It suggests that all police are bad, which, in itself is discrimination, not to mention, not true.
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Andy's Opinion
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06/26/2020
Cosmetic and superficial because the root problem is not what you are addressing. Poor parenting. Poor upbringings lead to bad cops (a very small amount) and many bad citizens. This is what happens when you raise kids to not respect authority and without correction. This is the “Everybody gets a participation trophy generation.” America has a sin problem. Laws can’t fix it. More laws won’t fix it. Anarchy won’t fix it either.
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Just.Dave's Opinion
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06/25/2020
I am against anything the party of racism has to offer. Do not compromise with them, do not negotiate with them. The United States has a firm stance against negotiating with terrorists, at least we do again after obama, and the democratic party that started the KKK is the same democratic party in the house of reprobate. Vote them all out if you want meaningful change in the United States. Continue to vote for racist dems if you are for the status quo. They've had 200 years to change their ways and have done nothing. This is why we call them do nothing dems. Let's blue flush this shitty toilet.
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What is House Bill H.R. 7120?

This bill — known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 — would implement a number of policies aimed at reforming police practices to reduce the excessive use of force by law enforcement officers. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would eliminate qualified immunity; ban chokeholds and no-knock search warrants in drug cases at the federal & incentivize states & localities to do the same through federal grant restrictions; make it easier to prosecute police misconduct; provide law enforcement training in racial bias & the duty to intervene; increase data reporting; ban the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies; and criminalize lynching. A breakdown of this 136 page bill’s provisions can be found below.

POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

Police Misconduct Statute: This section would make it easier to prosecute law enforcement officers for misconduct by changing the current standard from “willful” to “knowingly or with reckless disregard.” It would also define a “death resulting” as any act that was a “substantial factor contributing to the death.”

Qualified Immunity Reform: This section would eliminate the legal doctrine of qualified immunity, which courts have interpreted as barring individuals from recovering damages when law enforcement officers violate their rights unless there was a clearly established legal or constitutional right.

Pattern & Practice Investigations: The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Dept. would be granted subpoena power to conduct pattern & practice investigations into discriminatory & unconstitutional policing practices. This section would also provide grants to state attorneys general to conduct pattern & practice investigations, and $100 million in funding would be authorized for each fiscal year FY2021-FY2023.

Independent Use of Force Reviews: A grant program would be created for state attorneys general to create an independent investigation process for law enforcement misconduct or excessive use of force. There would be $750 million in grant funding authorized for fiscal years 2021-2023 to carry out these reviews.

Law Enforcement Trust & Integrity Act: The Attorney General would be required to create law enforcement accreditation standards based on the Obama administration’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing. It would create law enforcement development programs to develop best practices in policing. The impact of any rule, law, or procedure that allows a law enforcement officer to unreasonably or arbitrarily delay answering the questions of investigators probing police misconduct would be studied.

Additionally, this section would require the Attorney General to collect data on investigatory actions & detentions by federal law enforcement agencies; the racial distribution of drug charges; the use of deadly force by and against law enforcement officers; and traffic & pedestrian stops & detentions. A DOJ task force would be established to coordinate the investigation, prosecution, and enforcement efforts of federal, state, and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct. This section would authorize $25 million in grant funding for FY2021 to cover additional expenses incurred in carrying out this section, plus $3.3 million for expenses related to conflict resolution.

A pilot program would be established to allow law enforcement agencies to use existing federal grants to promote demographic diversity in agencies' hiring practices.

DATA TRANSPARENCY

National Police Misconduct Registry: A national registry of all federal, state, and local law enforcement officers would compile misconduct complaints (pending, sustained, and exonerated), discipline records, termination records, and records of certification. Law enforcement agencies would be required to ensure that all officers hired are certified within the state.

Police Reporting Information Data & Evidence Act: States & localities would be required to report to the Justice Dept. any incident where use of force occurs against a civilian or against a law enforcement officer, or face a 10% reduction in federal grant funding for that fiscal year. The reports would be required to include the national origin, sex, race, ethnicity, age, disability, English language proficiency, and housing status of each civilian against whom a law enforcement officer used force; and the reason force was used. Technical assistance grants would be made available for law enforcement agencies that employ less than 100 people to help comply with this bill’s requirements.

POLICE REFORM

End Religious & Racial Profiling Act: This section would prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling and create a cause of action for declaratory or injunctive relief in cases of profiling. Law enforcement would be required to provide training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling.

Law enforcement agencies would be required to collect data on all investigatory activities and submit that data to the Justice Dept. in a standardized form. Federal funding to state & local law enforcement would be conditioned on the adoption of policies to combat racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling along with the establishment of best practices to discourage profiling. The Attorney General would be required to provide reports on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling and ongoing efforts to combat profiling.

Training on Racial Bias & Duty to Intervene: A training program for law enforcement officers would be established that covers racial bias, implicit bias, procedural justice, and the duty to intervene to prevent incidents of law enforcement using excessive force. Training would be mandatory at federal law enforcement agencies, while federal funding to state & local agencies would be conditioned on the establishment of training.

Banning No-Knock Warrants in Drug Cases: The use of no-knock search warrants in drug cases investigated by federal agencies would be prohibited. Federal grants for state & local law enforcement agencies would be conditioned on those agencies prohibiting no-knock search warrants in drug cases.

Banning Chokeholds: The use of chokeholds & carotid holds would be banned at the federal level. Federal grant funding for state & local law enforcement agencies would be conditioned on the establishment of a law in that jurisdiction prohibiting the use of chokeholds & carotid holds.

Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone (PEACE) Act: The use of force standard for federal officers would be changed from reasonableness to only when necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury. This section would require that deadly force only be used as a last resort, and require officers to employ de-escalation techniques. Federal grants to state & local law enforcement agencies would be conditioned on those use of force standards.

Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act: This section would limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state & local law enforcement by restricting purchases for counterdrug & border security activities, and only allowing such purchases for counterterrorism. It would prohibit transfers of controlled firearms, ammunition, bayonets, grenade launchers, grenades (including stun & flash-bang), and explosive; armored vehicles such as MRAPs; silencers; drones that have no established commercial flight application or are combat configured or coded; and long-range acoustic devices.

Federal Police Camera and Accountability Act & Police Camera Act: Federal uniformed police officers would be required to wear body cameras and marked federal police vehicles would be required to have dashboard cameras. The Government Accountability Office would study federal police officers' training, vehicle pursuits, and use of force interactions with the public. 

This section would also require state & local law enforcement agencies to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.

Justice for Victims of Lynching Act: This section would make lynching a federal crime that automatically warrants an enhanced sentence under existing federal hate crime laws, punishable by a sentence of up to 10 additional years imprisonment. It wouldn’t preclude murder charges from being filed, which can already be brought under existing law.

Impact

Law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve; communities of color; state & local governments; and the Dept. of Justice.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 7120

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, introduced this legislation to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement, and build trust between law enforcement and communities:

“What we are witnessing is the birth of a new movement in our country with thousands coming together in every state marching to demand a change that ends police brutality, holds police officers accountable, and calls for transparency. For over 100 years, Black communities in America have sadly been marching against police abuse and calling for the police to protect and serve them as they do others. Today we unveil the Justice in Policing Act, which will establish a bold transformative vision of policing in America. Never again should the world be subjected to witnessing what we saw on the streets in Minnesota with George Floyd.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) added:

“We have heard the terrifying words ‘I can’t breathe’ from George Floyd, Eric Garner, and the millions of Americans in the streets calling out for change. For every incident of excessive force that makes headlines, the ugly truth is that there are countless others that we never hear about. This is a systemic problem that requires a comprehensive solution.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that Democrats’ bill is a “non-starter” that’s “going nowhere” in the Republican-controlled upper chamber:

“They want to basically, as Senator Barrasso pointed out, federalize all of these issues. That’s a non-starter. The House version is going nowhere in the Senate. It’s basically typical Democratic overreach to try to control everything in Washington. We have no interest in that.” 

The White House issued a veto threat for this bill, which read in part:

"This overbroad bill would deter good people from pursuing careers in law enforcement, weaken the ability of law enforcement agencies to reduce crime and keep our communities safe, and fail to bring law enforcement and the communities they serve closer together... The Administration does not support policies that undermine the ability of law enforcement to maintain law and order and secure public safety. H.R. 7120 would limit qualified immunity for police officers, which the courts have long held plays an important role in ensuring that law enforcement officers have the flexibility and confidence they need to make difficult decisions in extreme and unanticipated situations. This legislation would also allow unsubstantiated allegations against police officers to be publicized through a law enforcement "misconduct registry," thereby creating due process concerns for law enforcement officers and jeopardizing the privacy and safety of such officers and their families."

This legislation has the support of 230 House cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats, and passed the House Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote of 24-14. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) & Kamala Harris (D-CA), which has 36 cosponsors.


Of Note: USAFacts notes that the debate over police reform is constrained by a lack of up to date, standardized data from all parts of the country & all levels of government:

“One of the most striking things about data on excessive police force is what is lacking. Federal data on excessive force and police shootings is often too dated and inadequate to inform current discussions. Old, incomplete information is an ongoing trend across government data that needs addressing. Some, but not all, local governments provide policing statistics; however, what’s reported is incomplete and nonuniform, making national comparisons all but impossible.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Marco_Piunti)

AKA

George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020

Official Title

To hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct in court, improve transparency through data collection, and reform police training and policies.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed June 26th, 2020
    Roll Call Vote 236 Yea / 181 Nay
    IntroducedJune 8th, 2020

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    No chokeholds . No qualified immunity. No no-knock warrants. This is where we begin. To do less is unacceptable.
    Like (172)
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    I would not support this bill as written. It needs a lot of work. Additionally, some items are very questionable: 1: Banning chokeholds and no-knock search warrants - If we are serious about this, why is the ban only at the Federal level, but only an incentive at the state level? Makes no sense; 2: Under Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act - It recommends to restrict purchases for counter drug & border security. What the hell does this have to do with this subject matter? Last, but not least - I resent the tone of this bill. It suggests that all police are bad, which, in itself is discrimination, not to mention, not true.
    Like (64)
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    Share
    Qualified immunity absolutely has to be eliminated. It is unacceptable that we, the people, have no viable method of holding our law enforcement officials accountable. That is the single most important provision in this law that will make the most positive impact in our communities.
    Like (82)
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    I am quite tired of the trumpublican notion of ‘bi-partisan’ or ‘non-partisan’ agreements meaning that everyone just accepts their position without change. Without debate, without give and take, without compromise on the issues there can never be true non-partisan governance. You can always count on Malevolent Mitch to silently and improperly use his position and his regimented trumpublican nimrods to support their political self-serving gains at the expense of the people and governance for the benefit of the country. Democracy is dying at the feet of the RNC, Malicious Mitch, the trump and their big-money benefactors. They are dangerously close to fomenting another American Revolution to restore a governance of, by and for the people instead of a governance of, by and for PAC and their big-money benefactors.
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    It’s a start in the right direction so republicans will surely block it. Unfortunately we won’t get reform till we remove the dotard and his bitch Moscow Mitch.
    Like (58)
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    Definitely a start......but one issue I have not heard alot about recently is the fact that 1000s of rape kits have not been tested but remain hoarded collecting dust in various labs across the country.....police brutality AND neglect needs to be addressed...Who would be in charge of running these tests?....the county?.....this issue has gone by the wayside and most probably remains a problem.
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    Cosmetic and superficial because the root problem is not what you are addressing. Poor parenting. Poor upbringings lead to bad cops (a very small amount) and many bad citizens. This is what happens when you raise kids to not respect authority and without correction. This is the “Everybody gets a participation trophy generation.” America has a sin problem. Laws can’t fix it. More laws won’t fix it. Anarchy won’t fix it either.
    Like (28)
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    I am against anything the party of racism has to offer. Do not compromise with them, do not negotiate with them. The United States has a firm stance against negotiating with terrorists, at least we do again after obama, and the democratic party that started the KKK is the same democratic party in the house of reprobate. Vote them all out if you want meaningful change in the United States. Continue to vote for racist dems if you are for the status quo. They've had 200 years to change their ways and have done nothing. This is why we call them do nothing dems. Let's blue flush this shitty toilet.
    Like (26)
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    Human Beings should NOT be punished just because they’re different. People of color aren’t even different from white people. The only difference is that they have MORE MELANIN than white people. We are all basically the same skin color and we shouldn’t judge them based on something that they can’t get rid of or fix. Because the color of their skin does NOT need to be fixed. They are PERFECT the way they are and they are BEAUTIFUL.
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    This is a much stronger stance on qualified immunity, no-knock warrants, and chokeholds than the joke bill the Senate couldn't pass. It's not perfect, but when states and communities fail to protect all people it's up to the Federal government to act. Let's pass this bill and see if we can persuade the Senate to do the same. Anything less will just keep the protests going longer.
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    Vote for House Justice in Policing Act based on Black Caucus (House & Senate members) recommendations: 1) Chokeholds. House proposes eliminated, Senate proposes restriction. Compromise: Other holds like sleeper hold instead of chokehold? 2) Qualified Immunity. House proposes change, Senate leaves as is. Compromise: Have police budgets & unions pay damages not municipalities & see if they still want to protect the bad apples. 3) Police Officer Prosecution. House proposes making it easier, Senate proposes training instead. Compromise: Same as qualified immunity. 4) No-Knock Warrants. House proposes eliminating them, Senate wants reporting of them. Compromise: Initially track & report, then review & restrict based on specific cases. 5) Racial Bias. House proposes ending, Senate proposes training & oversight commission. Compromise: Review & revise procedures with local committees that include community leaders. Create training programs based on changes. After complaints & incidences review with committee. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/17/us/politics/police-reform-bill.html https://www.wsj.com/articles/more-cities-ban-chokeholds-similar-restraints-in-wake-of-george-floyd-protests-11591821021
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    Too many restrictions. What happened to George Floyd was very rare. You gett a few bad cops and you change the whole system around? Some places even defunding and disbanding our police? We shouldn't be giving in to all the rioters and orotestors.Yes some basic reform is okay but people need to start taking responsibility for their actions!
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    This bill should be going much farther, like ending the program that sells surplus military equipment to local law enforcement, abolishing mandatory minimums, and ending the disastrous “War on Drugs”, but it is a good start.
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    A start
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    Duty to intervene is absolutely essential in this bill. Officers are the most visible form of the state, and should always ensure that their colleagues are interacting with citizens in an appropriate manner.
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    It's only COMMON SENSE that choke holds and other police misconduct be barred!
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    It was hard to say yes to this because it sounds good with bans on chokeholds, no knock searched, and other military type activities BUT- This bill relies too heavily on top-down, federally mandated changes. State & Local levels aren’t where changes should be made because otherwise it risks undermining civil order. Another concern is law enforcement agencies could be entirely defunded, which is NOT going to help anything because reforming the militarism of our police to make changes but is NOT BEING ADDRESSED.
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    This is a must for our country.
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    We need this: real reform.
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    Hell no, police have to be tougher than the criminals. I cant believe that so many of you have no clue what police officers do. You let the news show one side of an incident and start believing them. You all should do ride alongs before commenting. Then your opinion would change. Also go spend time in areas without police, law and order. You will be surprised at what happens, like Atlanta and the CHOP zone.
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