Today, the House put forth the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. Below is a bulleted summary of all the highlights and points of interest. This summary is not a complete list of all the points in the bill. The link to the full document is posted HERE.


Justice in Policing Act of 2020

  • Ban chokeholds and carotid holds
  • Ban no-knock warrants in drug cases
  • Make police liable for civil rights violations (reduces restriction of qualified immunity)
  • Withholds federal funds from forces who do not reform
  • Makes lynching a federal crime
  • Establishes a national police misconduct registry
    • To include credible complaints, complaints pending review, complaints which officers were exonerated, discipline records, termination records, records of lawsuits. 
    • Must be made available to the public
  • Accreditation of police organizations by independent organizations
  • Establishes the Task Force on Law Enforcement Oversight (Under the Department of Justice). The Attorney General will make appointments. 
    • Will work with law enforcement in regard to misconduct
  • Law enforcement agencies will report breakdown of number of incidents by race, ethnicity, age, and gender of both the officers and members of public involved the the federal government.
    • Includes traffic stops, pedestrian stops, frisk and body searches, use of deadly force and justification for use. 
    • Records must be retained for 4 years. 
  • Use of force must be reported and include some of the following:
    • All use of force must be reported, if civilian was armed, type of force used, reason force was used, any injuries sustained, number of officers involved, legitimate police objective in necessitating force, resistance encountered by police, efforts to de-escalate or minimize force. 
    • Failure to comply will reduce in no more than 10% of funds being reduced. 
  • Prohibition of racial profiling
  • Must give warning before using deadly force
    • It is not a defense to use less lethal or deadly force if an officer’s gross negligence, leading up to and at the time of the use of force, contributed to the necessity of the use of such force. 
    • Must use least amount of force when interacting with pregnant women, minors, the elderly, those with disability or mental health issues, people with cognitive impairments, including alcohol and drug related, and people with limited English proficiency. 
  • Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act
    • In FY 2017, $504,000,000 was spent on equipment transferred from DoD to law enforcement. 
    • More than 6.8 trillion has been transferred in total through the existing program. 
    • In 2017 Donald Trump removed a previous Executive Order that was intended to prevent fraudulent transfer of such equipment. 
      • Surplus equipment will be returned to DoD
      • Local community must be aware of request for equipment
      • Local governing bodies (city council,. etc) must approve transfers
      • All equipment must be certified annually (essentially an inventory) and failure to do so will result in loss of transfer to those areas. 
      • Limitation on transfers
        • No controlled firearms, grenades, launchers, flash bangs, mine-resistant or ambushed protected vehicles, armored drones, weaponized drones, controlled aircraft, silencers, long range acoustic devices. And more. 
  • Mandatory body cameras. 
    • Visual and audio must be active on all calls. May not be deactivated until the call has fully concluded
    • Must make civilians aware of use of camera. 
      • Civilians who are subject to a home search can request the camera be turned off. 
      • Those looking to make anonymous reports can request a camera turned off. 
      • These requests must be recorded. 
      • Will not activate cameras in school unless there is a threat to life. 
    • Must be retained for 6 months. 
    • The following have the “right to inspect:” 
      • Subjects caught on footable, and their counsel
      • Parents of minors
      • Spouse, next of kin, legally authorize design of a deceased subject. 
      • Officer who recorded the footage, and their counsel
      • Superior officer of the recording officer
      • Any defense counsel with good reason
    • Must be retained for three years if:
      • There is use of ANY force
      • A complaint has been registered
      • Is part of an investigation
      • Can be used for training purposes
    • Mandatory vehicle cameras
      • During all stops
      • Must be activated by the use of lights on the vehicle
      • Must be used if lights would be used, but are not due to an attempt to conceal law enforcement
      • Retain for 90 days
    • No camera may utilize facial recognition technology

Again, these are just the highlights of the bill. I suggest reading the source document if possible. Overall, it seems the bill is extremely comprehensive.

Analysis from The Nu Deal later this week in either a post or the podcast!

Photo Credit: Matt York AP

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