Crow Introduces the Use of Force Accountability Act
AURORA - Congressman Jason Crow (CO-06) today introduced the Use of Force Accountability Act, police reform legislation that would require states to have a law mandating independent investigations after any use of deadly force that resulted in a death or injury.
Crow’s efforts are a direct response to Aurora’s independent review of the death of Elijah McClain. Among other findings, the review discovered that, “the post-event investigation was flawed and failed to meaningfully develop a fulsome record,” and recommended serious changes in how officer use of force is investigated.
“No legislation can bring back Elijah McClain or ease his family’s pain. We failed Elijah and his family, and the least we can do is learn from this injustice,” said Congressman Jason Crow. “The Use of Force Accountability Act would hold police officers accountable for misconduct by requiring thorough, independent investigations after such incidents. This is an important step towards accountability but we must be fearless in tackling the systemic racism that is embedded in our criminal justice system, our government, and every facet of our society head-on.”
“The Aurora Branch fully supports the effort of Congressman Crow to address police reform. Guidance from Congress will assist with uniformity when it comes to police accountability and transparency. We must begin to look at a new philosophy towards public safety so that we can build trust between the community and peace officers. Congressman Crow's bill is a great start to making that happen,” said Aurora NAACP President Omar Montgomery.
The legislation would ensure that impartial investigations are conducted with proper oversight each time an officer’s use of deadly force results in death or injury. Crow’s legislation also requires a law enforcement agency’s internal affairs department to review all cases that involve an officer’s use of deadly force. The independent review found that Aurora’s current policies prevent internal affairs from self-starting investigations and instead require pre-approval by the Chief of Police, limiting their independence to investigate misconduct.
The Use of Force Accountability Act would:
- Compel states to have a law requiring an independent investigation of all officer-related deaths;
- Mandate that, upon the completion of an independent investigation, the findings be referred to the internal affairs department of the law enforcement agency for review; and
- Create a grant program to assist state attorney generals in implementing independent investigation statutes.