“Justice Act”: content of the Senate Republican Police Reform Bill

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Senate Republicans on Wednesday released their Justice Reform law to hold officers accountable.

Senator Tim Scott, the only African-American GOP senator, led the legislation following the death of George Floyd and national protests demanding racial justice – including calls by activists to dismantle the police. He presented the legislation as a bridge between law enforcement and communities of color.

The Senate bill came after last week the Democrats in the House revealed their own “Justice in Policing Act”.

Here is what is in the Republican bill:

Discouraged, discouraged chokeholds

The bill would discourage strangulation by withholding federal grants to departments that allow such a deadly restriction. President Trump issued an executive order Tuesday that would ban strangulation except in life-threatening situations.

Increase in use of force data collection

The bill states that currently only 40% of law enforcement officers assist in the national collection of FBI use of force data, and that there is no official police fire tracking system. Under the Justice Act, state and local governments would be required to report to the FBI any use of force by a law enforcement officer causing bodily harm and the discharge of a firearm.

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Increased retention of records

The bill would require law enforcement agencies to keep the employment and disciplinary records of law enforcement officers for 30 years and to review the records as part of the hiring process.

Follow-up of the “no hitting” mandate

The bill would establish the Breonna Taylor Notification Act to monitor strike bans to analyze their intent and effectiveness. These warrants were rare, but Taylor, 26, was killed after Kentucky police used a no-warrant warrant to enter her Louisville home.

Lynching a federal crime

Although largely symbolic, Congress has sought to make lynching a federal crime for decades, as other types of murder are generally prosecuted at the national and local levels.

Increased penalties for false police reports

The bill would impose tougher penalties on officers who falsify police reports. It would add a new criminal sanction for falsifying reports of civil rights violations that result in serious injury or death, imposing a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Improved funding for body cameras

Through a federal subsidy program, DOJ would match investments in body cameras worn by police, authorizing $ 100 million annually between 2021 and 2025. The program would impose financial penalties if officers did not use the cameras correctly .

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Study on the social status of black men and boys

The bill would sponsor a study long requested by the Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, that would go beyond police brutality, examining education, health care, finances and crime.

Funding for training on alternative uses of force, de-escalation and the duty to intervene

The bill would create a standardized curriculum for training in alternative uses of force and responding to behavioral health crises, and would publicly list the law enforcement agencies that prescribe this training. It would also help set up and fund a program to train officers to know when to intervene if they see their colleagues abusing their use of force.

Prohibit sexual abuse by law enforcement

Bill would remove loophole from law enforcement consent to prohibit officers from sexually abusing individuals they arrest, and follow up on reports of sexual abuse by enforcement officers laws to report to Congress after one year.

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African American History Museum to Train Law Enforcement in the History of Racism

The bill would fund an education program for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to create a law enforcement education program on the history of racism in the United States.

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