Las Vegas, Nev. — Today, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) joined the Congressional Black Caucus and 135 Members of Congress to introduce the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, sweeping police reform legislation to increase law enforcement accountability, address biased policing practices and curb racial profiling. The Congressman discussed this legislation on an Instagram Live which can be viewed here.
“I know all too well the pain and loss the Black community has faced because of law enforcement use of force, and groundbreaking legislation like the Justice in Policing Act is necessary to stop any more pain coming to our community. As we mourn George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, we need concrete federal reforms to address the root causes of these injustices,” Congressman Horsford said. “As a Black man, and a father of two young Black men, I know we must find common ground and enact real reforms across this Nation and for Nevada. We need to continue to have honest dialogue about race and other injustices and more importantly, act boldly for the change we need throughout our society.”
The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 will:
- Hold police accountable in our courts by:
- Amending the mens rea requirement in 18 U.S.C. Section 242, the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct, from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard;
- Reforming qualified immunity so that individuals are not entirely barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights;
- Improving the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and incentivizing state attorneys general to conduct pattern and practice investigations;
- Incentivizing states to create independent investigative structures for police involved deaths through grants; and
- Creating best practices recommendations based on the Obama 21st Century Policing Task force.
- Improve transparency into policing by collecting better and more accurate data of police misconduct and use-of-force by:
- Creating a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problem-officers from changing jurisdictions to avoid accountability; and
- Mandating state and local law enforcement agencies report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
- Improve police training and practices by:
- Ending racial and religious profiling;
- Mandating training on racial bias and the duty to intervene;
- Banning no-knock warrants in drug cases;
- Banning chokeholds and carotid holds;
- Changing the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was reasonable to whether the force was necessary;
- Limiting the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement;
- Requiring federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras; and
- Requiring state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
The legislation would also make lynching a federal crime.
The Congressman has also cosponsored multiple pieces of legislation in the nationwide march toward justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many other Black men, women and children who have been victim to biased policing practices. The legislation supported by the Congressman also includes bills around structural reform within equal housing, education opportunities, and job creation or workforce development. Those pieces of legislation can be viewed here.