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Sires Joins House Effort to Improve Accountability as Original Cosponsor of the Justice in Policing Act

Jun 8, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) joined House Democrats, led by Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler, as an original cosponsor of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 in the House of Representatives. The bill was introduced by Senator Cory Booker and Senator Kamala Harris in the Senate.

“Systemic racism exists in our society and it is long past time for us to take concrete steps to address the flaws in our policing system,” said Rep. Sires. “I believe that the Justice in Policing Act is a necessary step that includes important policy to address bias and the historical lack of accountability. While I know that one piece of legislation will not solve the issues that have long plagues our society, I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus and work on additional federal legislative efforts.”

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would hold police accountable in courts by reforming qualified immunity so that people aren’t barred from recovering damages, amending the mens rea requirement, giving the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power, and incentivizing the creation of independent investigative structures. It would also improve transparency by creating a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent officers from changing jurisdictions to avoid accountability and mandating state and local law enforcement agencies report detailed use of force data. The bill includes provisions to improve police training and practices by ending racial and religious profiling, banning no-knock warrants in drug cases, banning chokeholds and carotid holds, raising the standard to evaluate whether use of force was justified, limiting transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement, and requiring federal, state, and local law enforcement use body cameras. In addition, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would make lynching a federal crime.

“Everyone should support efforts to make our policing system more just, transparent, and accountable. These reforms, many of which have been introduced over the years as standalone measures, are in everyone’s best interest and we should move quickly to consider the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and send it to the President’s desk.”

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