Congressional Action on Policing Reform

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Endorses the Justice in Policing Act of 2020

Washington, DC (June 9, 2020) — Yesterday, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. The bill would implement much-needed reforms to American police forces through numerous policy changes aimed at strengthening accountability and re-building the trust that has deteriorated between communities — particularly communities of color — and law enforcement agencies..

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz issued the following statement:

“As Rev. Al Sharpton so eloquently said at the Minneapolis memorial service for George Floyd, America’s knee has been on the neck of Black Americans for over 400 years. If we want to begin to address this ongoing physical and structural violence, we must examine the way we conduct law enforcement in America. Our current approach to law enforcement too often operationalizes the systemic racism in our country and treats Black lives as expendable and invisible. This approach has created physical and emotional pain for generations and created a terrible breakdown in trust between law enforcement and the community that stymies legitimate efforts to ensure community safety.

“As a gun violence prevention leader, I see and abhor the violence created by our unjust approach to law enforcement. As an American, I must take responsibility for dismantling the systemic racism that resulted in the knee on the neck of George Floyd. Thanks to Representatives Karen Bass and Jerrold Nadler, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, and the Congressional Black Caucus, there is an immediate way to begin exercising our responsibility to make our country more equitable and safe for all Americans.

“The Justice in Policing Act introduced on Monday is the first step in building a new and healthier relationship between law enforcement and the communities that they serve. While the Act does not cover every aspect of police reform, it does include meaningful provisons such as prohibiting racial profiling, encouraging transparency in policing by establishing a national Police Misconduct Registry, changing legal standards that hinder police accountability, providing funds to give citizen review boards investiatory authority and subpoean power, and banning the practice of “chokehold restraints.”

“We endorse the Justice in Policing Act and will work to see it enacted into law. We also encourage the millions of Americans who have voiced support for gun violence prevention over the last several years to approach this endeavor with equal vigor. Creating policies and practices that support a more equitable system of law enforcement will spare many lives from the pain of police violence and help quell one of the main drivers of community violence: a lack of trust between law enforcement and the people they are supposed to protect.”

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