Press Release

Castor Champions Justice in Policing Act of 2020

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Washington, June 8, 2020 | comments

Castor Champions Justice in Policing Act of 2020

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) announced today that she is an original cosponsor of the newly introduced Justice in Policing Act of 2020, civil rights-focused legislation crafted by the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Judiciary Committee.

“Protests and calls to action in wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd must lead to changes across America, in city halls, in state capitals and in Congress,” said Castor. “House Democrats are answering those calls with transformative legislation to curb persistent, unchecked bias in policing, and require accountability and a change in culture. It’s a new vision for policing in America.

“The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and begin to build trust between law enforcement and our communities. It has been said that on the back-end, the bill fixes our federal laws so law enforcement officers are held accountable for egregious misconduct and police abuses are better tracked and reported. And on the front-end, the bill improves police practices and training to prevent these injustices from happening in the first place. I will press for its passage.. the time for change is now.”

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;
    • Reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not entirely barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights;
    • Improve 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;
    • Incentivize states to create independent investigative structures for police involved deaths through grants; and
    • Create 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
    • Mandate 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.
  • Make lynching a federal crime by:
    • Making it a federal crime to conspire to violate existing federal hate crimes laws.
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