Congressman Jason Crow Addresses Police Reform in Latest Bill
Today Representative Jason Crow joined Representative Sheila Jackson Lee in introducing the George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act of 2020. The bill, which is also co-led by Representatives House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass and has over 80 original co-sponsors, addresses the issue of police accountability and is designed to build trust between police departments and the communities they serve. Companion legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Ben Cardin.
The George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act is designed to provide incentives for local police organizations to voluntarily adopt performance-based standards to ensure that incidents of deadly force or misconduct will be minimized through appropriate management and training protocols and properly investigated, should they occur. Crow’s office began working on the legislation following the death of Elijah McClain, an unarmed 24 year old in Aurora, who suffered a fatal heart attack following a physical encounter with multiple police officers.
“Transparency and integrity from police departments across the nation is not too much to ask. The American public watched in horror as an officer kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground while he repeatedly pleaded for his life. This egregious behavior can no longer be tolerated. We demand accountability and transparency from all U.S. police departments. We must remain vigilant during this tumultuous time. To the family of #GeorgeFloyd we are mourning with you. It is well beyond time to end the practices that cause Americans to live in fear — simply because of the color of their skin. The time for change is now,” said Jackson Lee.
“The federal government has a critical role to play in promoting a culture of accountability for all law enforcement organizations. As voices from coast to coast take to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and the many whose names we never knew, we cannot look at these as isolated incidents but instead the repercussions when justice is never served. When you have police officers who abuse citizens, you erode public confidence in law enforcement,” said Bass
“We can’t bring George Floyd back, but we can honor his life by reforming our institutions that have created and perpetuated inequality. We must raise our voices with the Black Lives Matter movement, but that is not enough. It’s past time to take concrete steps to address these issues. We need to build trust between our police departments and the communities they serve, and increase accountability and transparency. It’s time for things to change,” said Crow.
The bill authorizes the Department of Justice to work cooperatively with independent accreditation, law enforcement and community-based organizations to further develop and refine the accreditation standards, and authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of obtaining accreditation from certified law enforcement accreditation organizations. The polices for the bill grew out of recommendations from the Obama Administration Task Force on 21st Century Policing
The Act makes seven concrete steps toward improving law enforcement management and misconduct prosecution tools.
Title I: Law Enforcement Accreditation
This title requires the Attorney General to perform an initial analysis of existing law enforcement accreditation standards and to recommend areas for the development of additional national standards for accreditation of police agencies in conjunction with law enforcement accreditation groups, law enforcement associations, and labor and community-based groups. Such an analysis shall include a review of the recommendations of the Final Report of the President’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing, issued in May 2015. Additionally, the Attorney General can recommend the adoption of uniform standards – including use of force procedures – for greater community law enforcement accountability. Further, it authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to police agencies for the purpose of obtaining accreditation from certified professional law enforcement accreditation organizations.
Title II: Law Enforcement Development Programs
This Title authorizes the Attorney General to make grants to States, units of local government, Indian Tribal Governments, or other public and private entities, and multi-jurisdictional or regional consortia to study law enforcement agency management and operations. Grants would also help develop pilot programs to implement best practices focused on effective training, recruitment, hiring, management and oversight of law enforcement officers, which would also provide focused data for the development of additional accreditation standards.
Title III: Administrative Due Process Procedures
This Title requires the Attorney General to study the prevalence and impact of any law, rule or procedure that allows a law enforcement officer to delay for an unreasonable or arbitrary period of time the answer to questions posed by a local internal affairs officer, prosecutor, or review board on the investigative integrity and prosecution of law enforcement misconduct.
Title IV: Enhanced Funding To Combat Police Misconduct & Reform Police Departments
This Title authorizes $25 million for additional expenses relating to the enforcement of civil rights statues – including compliance with consent decree or judgments – regarding police misconduct brought by the Department of Justice, pursuant to Section 210401 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (now 34 U.S.C. 12601). This Title also authorizes appropriations for additional expenses relating to conflict resolution, including programs managed by the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Services, within the Civil Rights Division.
Title V: National Task Force on Law Enforcement Oversight
This provision requires the Department of Justice to establish a task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct. It also authorizes appropriations to support task force efforts.
Title VI: Federal Data Collection on Police Practices
This provision requires each Federal, State, and local law enforcement agency to report to the Attorney General data on the following: 1) traffic violation stops; 2) pedestrian stops and detentions; and 3) the use of deadly force by and against law enforcement officers, including the outcome (injury or death) and the law enforcement agency’s justification, if applicable.
Title VII: Medallions for Fallen Law Enforcement Officers
This provision requires the Department of Justice, in cooperation with the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, to create and provide a distinctive medallion to be issued to the survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty or memorialized on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.