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Heck Co-Sponsors Landmark Police Accountability Legislation

Press Release

Date: June 8, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Today the Justice in Policing Act was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA) is an original cosponsor of the legislation. The bill was introduced in the House by Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

"I will never know what it is like to see flashing lights or hear a siren and wonder whether the people entrusted with my protection will truly protect me, or whether they will see me as a threat. Yet that is a thought shared by so many Black Americans every single day," said Heck.

"The problem is systemic, and so the solutions will have to be systemic. No bill can completely fix the inequality that has been part of our country since its founding, but the Justice in Policing Act takes a comprehensive approach to police accountability. It enacts critical reforms to rein in the excessive use of force by police, and that is a necessary first step in addressing this problem. The measures we're introducing today will help ensure that police are more accountable to the communities they serve. I pledge to continue listening to my colleagues and working with them to bring about lasting progress."

The Justice in Policing Act takes several key steps in addressing police brutality:

Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from profiling based on race or religion

Bans the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants by federal law enforcement

Requires federal law enforcement to use body cameras and dashboard cameras, and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of body cameras

Creates a National Police Misconduct Registry so that other jurisdictions are aware of misconduct by specific officers

Changes the federal statute used to prosecute police misconduct from a "willfulness" standard to a "recklessness" standard

Reforms qualified immunity so individuals may recover damages when police violate their constitutional rights

Requires state and local law enforcement to report use of force data by race, sex, disability, religion, and age

The bill has 166 original cosponsors in the House and 33 original cosponsors in the Senate.