Hastings’ Statement on the House Passage of the Justice in Policing Act

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Washington, D.C., June 26, 2020 | comments

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, an original cosponsor of H.R. 7120, the Justice in Policing Act, released the following statement after managing the rule for House consideration and voting for the measure, which passed the House of Representatives. H.R.7120 is bold, transformative legislation to reimagine the culture of policing in America with unprecedented reforms to curb police brutality, end racial profiling, eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement and build greater trust between law enforcement and our communities:

“In the long shadow cast by the ongoing devastation wrought by a pandemic that has overwhelmingly affected communities of color, we are witnessing again and again, day-in-and-day-out, the images of Black people being brutalized by officers who have taken an oath to serve and protect. Indeed, communities throughout Florida and across our country are grieving for all those killed by a pattern of police brutality and are demanding action to end these racial injustices. 

“Thanks to the leadership of my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and CBC Chairwoman Karen Bass, the transformative Justice in Policing Act delivers the reforms needed to address systemic racism and save lives, while increasing transparency to ensure police are held accountable. Let me be clear: I have friends who are police officers. Not all police officers are bad. However, we must address the blatant racism and bias in policing. This bill will do just that, and is worthy of every Member’s support. Our nation is built on the fundamental promise of equal justice for all, and I am dedicated to continue the ongoing effort to fulfill that promise for all Americans.” 

Background:

This sweeping legislation will take numerous key steps to achieve transformative, structural change to combat the pattern of police brutality and racial injustice, including:

  • Banning all chokeholds;
  • Banning no-knock warrants in drug cases;
  • Ending racial, religious and discriminatory profiling;
  • Eliminating the qualified immunity doctrine that is a barrier to holding police officers accountable for wrongful conduct;
  • Establishing a National Police Misconduct Registry to improve transparency and prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability;
  • Requiring data collection, including mandatory body cameras and dashboard cameras;
  • Establishing new standards for policing and the Public Safety Innovation grants for community-based organizations to help reimagine policing in their communities;
  • Making lynching a federal hate crime; and more

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.

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