Here’s what’s in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act


After video footage of Tire Nichols’ brutal caning stunned the nation, calls for a revival of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act are growing louder.

According to Ben Crump, the Nichols family attorney, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) plans to reintroduce the law after the Feb. 7 State of the Union address. A “duty to intervene” element honoring Nichols will also be added, Crump said during Nichols’ funeral on Wednesday.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — named after the 46-year-old black man who was killed by Minneapolis police in 2020 — passed the Democrat-controlled House in March 2021. But Senate negotiations stalled soon after. Faced with failed police reform efforts, President Biden last year signed an executive order with some initiatives similar to those of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. However, Biden’s order applies only to federal law enforcement agencies, and executive orders can be reversed by future presidents.

Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, died Jan. 10, three days after he was punched, kicked and pepper-sprayed by five Memphis police officers. The videos released last week prompted renewed calls for police reform action, including from Biden, who on Monday said Congress should pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act “immediately.”

Police reform talks are back in Congress, but there is little hope of an agreement

It has been more than a year since the bill passed Congress. Here are some of the implications of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021:

Limit the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies

The bill would limit the transfer of military assets, such as drones, to local and state law enforcement agencies.

Prompt officers to complete training if another uses excessive force

Police officers would receive guidance on racial profiling, implicit bias and intervention.

Increase the use of body cams

All federal officers would be required to wear body cameras, and all designated federal police vehicles would be required to use dash cams. The resulting film material must be released on request as part of the invoice. Federal funding would also be available to ensure local and state law enforcement used body cameras, but the release of local and state footage would be left to state law.

Create a national database of allegations of official misconduct

The bill would create a national police misconduct registry to compile data on complaints and records of federal, state and local police misconduct. Law enforcement agencies have the ability to research an officer’s background prior to hiring, which can prevent officers who have been fired for misconduct from being hired by other agencies.

Ban on warrants and chokeholds in some cases

Knock orders allow law enforcement officers to enter an area without knocking or announcing their presence. Louisville police killed 26-year-old Breonna Taylor after searching her home on a warrant. The practice would be banned in federal drug cases; the warrants would still be admissible in other scenarios.

Broken Doors: A podcast examining search warrants

The use of chokeholds has also come under more scrutiny since Floyd’s death, after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Under the bill, strangleholds would be banned at the federal level.

The bill requires state and local governments to pass similar legislation, and those who don’t would lose access to federal funding.

Limit the use of qualified immunity

This provision would make it easier to press charges against abusive police officers.

Qualified immunity protects police officers from individual liability. This makes it nearly impossible to prosecute police officers for violating civil rights. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act attempted to bar officials from qualified immunity, but that was a major issue at last year’s bipartisan Senate hearings. Most Republicans argued that allowing lawsuits against police officers would prompt them to use less effective tactics.

The bill also lowers the standard of “criminal intent” — from “deliberate” to knowing or reckless — to convict an officer in a federal attorney’s office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

| |
Back to top button