• June 22nd, 2024
  • Saturday, 10:55:28 PM

Changing the Culture of Law Enforcement


U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland

 

Last week, the House of Representatives took a critical step forward in the movement for racial justice by passing H.R. 1280, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 with my vote in support. I proudly joined Representative Karen Bass (CA-37) in introducing this bill as an original cosponsor. The Justice in Policing Act is a bold, comprehensive approach to holding police accountable, changing the culture of law enforcement, and building trust between law enforcement and our communities. I am grateful to Representative Bass for her leadership in ensuring its reintroduction in the 117th Congress.

Photo: Office of Rep. Deb Haaland

Last summer, our nation was shocked and saddened by several horrific instances of police brutality and racial injustice. Sadly, despite mass protests calling for justice and a growing awareness of these crises, the epidemic of police brutality continues, with more police killings occurring last year than in the year before. Since 2014, there has been an average of nearly 1,000 fatal police-involved shootings nationwide each year, and Black Americans and other communities of color disproportionately bear the brunt of this cruelty. This horrific reality must change, and I am grateful to see the work of countless grassroots activists and local communities come to fruition with the passing of this essential legislation.
To address systemic racism and transform our country’s law enforcement for the better, the Justice in Policing Act will, among other important initiatives:

-Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling and mandate training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.

-Ban chokeholds, carotid holds, and no-knock warrants at the federal level.

-Limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.

-Mandate the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers and require state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.

-Reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.

I’ll be clear: Black lives matter, but for far too long, those who abuse their power to harass and kill Black Americans have rarely been held accountable. The Justice in Policing Act takes bold action to transform the culture of policing in our country, hold power abusers accountable, get weapons of war off our streets, and promote justice across the country. This is just one step in a long and intensive process – we must act across the board to address institutional and systemic racism in our country, and House Democrats are prepared to do just that. To learn more about the bill, I encourage you to visit JusticeInPolicing.us, a platform launched by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05), where you can sign up as a citizen cosponsor and lend your voice of support for the bill’s enactment.

This is just one step in a long and intensive process – we must act across the board to address institutional and systemic racism in our country, and House Democrats are prepared to do just that.

The lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and every life lost to police violence must be honored. I am proud to support this transformative bill, and I look forward to seeing my colleagues in the Senate vote to send it to President Biden’s desk in the coming weeks.

 

Congresswoman Deb Haaland (D-New México).

 

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