Politics

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Congressional Democrats unveiled Monday an extensive set of policy proposals aimed at police reforms

PHOTO CREDITS: ANNA MONEYMAKER/NEW YORK TIMES

According to The Hill, Congressional Democrats introduced an extensive new set of policy proposals Monday aimed at reforming policing and law enforcement practices across the US. The new legislation, titled the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, was introduced just moments after House and Senate Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Jim Clyburn, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, held a ceremonious moment of silence, reading the names of George Floyd and other African Americans killed during police confrontations. The congressmen wore kente cloths provided by the Congressional Black Caucus, one of the lead champions of the bill, as they knelt down on one knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds – in honor of the time Floyd was pinned under the knee of a police officer moments before his death. ~

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would force federal police agencies to use body and dashboard cameras, ban chokeholds (including the type responsible for the death of George Floyd), eliminate the practice of unannounced police raids known as “no-knock warrants”, and make police officers more prosecutable for violations of civil rights. According to an early draft of the bill, the legislation would also deem lynching a federal crime, create a “national police misconduct registry” to monitor complaints of misconduct by police officers and departments, limit the sale of military-grade weapons to police departments, and give the Department of Justice oversight abilities over state and local police suspected of department-wide bias or misconduct. Although the bill does not directly defund police departments amid protests around the country lobbying for such local and federal legislation, the bill does state that departments that fail to abide by this criteria will have federal funds withheld. ~

With Democrats having a majority in the House of Representatives, a unified Democatic party in the House should be enough for the act to pass. However, it remains unclear whether the GOP-led Senate will support the initiative, or if they will consider writing their own reform bill – which is the subject of a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting next week. ~

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