U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) voted in favor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120), which passed the House last night with bipartisan support. Slotkin is a co-sponsor of the bill, which represents the first comprehensive policing reform legislation to pass the U.S. House.
Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, and protests across the country and Michigan demanding change, the bill makes meaningful reforms to end the pattern of police brutality that disproportionately impacts communities of color, and to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
"Today I'm thinking of leaders in our community who have marched against police brutality and systemic racism many times throughout their lives, and the pain and exhaustion they expressed to me in feeling those calls have gone unheard," Slotkin said. "As leaders, it's our job to hear people on the ground. The passage of the Justice in Policing Act in the House is a significant step forward in changing the culture of policing, and improving the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. While this bill marks the first comprehensive policing reform legislation to pass the U.S. House, it by no means represents the end of our work to address racism and inequality. I hope that the Senate meets the moment and that we get to negotiating meaningful reform into law."
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act:
Bans chokeholds and carotid holds at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning chokeholds;
Bans no-knock warrants in drug cases at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning no-knock warrants at the local and state level;
Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling;
Requires that federal officers use deadly force only as a last resort and requires officers to employ de-escalation techniques first. Changes the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was "reasonable" to whether the force was "necessary." Conditions grants on state and local law enforcement agencies' establishing the same use of force standard;
Eliminates the qualified immunity doctrine that is a barrier for individuals to hold police officers accountable in civil court for conduct that violates their civil rights;
Makes it easier to prosecute offending officers by amending the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct. The mens rea requirement in 18 U.S.C. Section 242 will be amended from "willfulness" to a "recklessness" standard;
Establishes a National Police Misconduct Registry to improve transparency and prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave an agency while facing open disciplinary proceedings, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability;
Mandates state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age;
Requires the use of body cameras and dashboard cameras by federal officers, and establishes a grant program to help fund state and local body camera programs;
Limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement;
Establishes public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches;
Requires the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations;
Creates law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices;
Makes it a crime for a federal law enforcement officer to engage in a sexual act with an individual who is under arrest, in detention, or in custody. It prohibits consent as a defense to prosecution for unlawful conduct. Incentivizes states to set the same standards.