by: Angie Turner, J&P Editorial Coordinator

The Justice & Peace Committee supports the belief that police have a role in creating a just society. We acknowledge that the current justice system is flawed. Unlike Abolish and Defund strategists, we support the belief that with proper reform, police can properly do their role in creating a peaceful and just society. We want to hear from you and offer a series of articles now to help you begin your reflection and discernment of how we might proceed as a parish to decide where we might stand on the issues of police justice.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R.7120) was introduced in the house June 8th, 2020 and sponsored by the California democratic representative Karen Bass. It addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability. It increases accountability for law enforcement misconduct, restricts the use of certain policing practices, enhances transparency and data collection, and establishes best practices and training requirements.

After the recent conviction of Derek Chauvin, attention shifted to focus on passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which could revolutionize how police operate. There are several main components of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that we can break down and analyze.

The first main goal of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is to reduce racial and religious profiling for local, state, and federal law enforcement. It would forbid discriminatory profiling and would require that data would be collected on the victim’s race, sex, disability, and religion when excessive force is used. 

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act also aims to ban chokeholds, carotid holds, and no-knock warrants, both of which have been misused by law enforcement leading to the death of several people including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. It would ensure that all other de-escalation methods would be used before the use of deadly force was potentialized.  

Another main goal of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is requiring officers in uniform to wear body cameras. The George Floyd Act states that state and local law enforcement departments can use pre-existing federal funding to ensure that body cameras, as well as dashboard cameras for federal vehicles, are being used. Many states already have laws that require body cameras to be used, but this would help regulate the usage of them, and create standards on when to wear them, when to release footage, etc.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will also create a national registry—the National Police Misconduct Registry—to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It will also direct the Department of Justice to create uniform certification standards for law enforcement agencies and requires law enforcement officers to complete training on racial profiling, implicit bias, and the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.

Overall, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act aims to decrease the use of excessive force used by law enforcement, make sure that officers have the right amount of training to correctly handle any situation, and regulate procedures used on a local, state, and federal level. 

You can learn more about the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act HERE

Stay tuned for our next analysis of the Justice in Policing Act vs the Justice Act! 

We have several other articles on justice in policing on a state and local level! You can read more about what Maryland is doing to reform policing HERE. You can read more about justice in policing in Baltimore City HERE.

The Ignatian Advocacy Leaders hosted an event discussing the future of policing, which is recapped below.