Stauber Leads Police Reform Legislation in the House
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08), a former law enforcement officer of over twenty years, announced the introduction of his police reform legislation titled the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act.
The Senate companion of the JUSTICE Act was introduced yesterday by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). Congressman Stauber spoke at the introduction press conference, which can be seen here.
Of the JUSTICE Act, Congressman Stauber said, “As a former law enforcement officer, I was devastated watching the video of George Floyd dying at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. The cruel and inhumane actions perpetrated by those officers go against everything I stood for during my time in law enforcement. George Floyd’s life mattered, and the best way to honor his memory is by enacting change within police departments nationwide. That’s why I am proud to introduce the JUSTICE Act, which offers pragmatic solutions to improve policing.
Stauber continued, stating, “In order to truly make progress on public safety, and unite this nation, it is imperative to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The JUSTICE Act will do just that by implementing community policing best practices, creating transparency when it comes to reporting incidents with law enforcement, and holding officers and departments alike accountable for their actions. Delivering lasting reform should not be a partisan issue, and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this important issue. Our nation is calling for change, and I am confident that we will rise to the occasion.”
The full text of the JUSTICE Act can be found here, and a summary can be found below.
Improving Law Enforcement Transparency:
- Require annual reports on the use of force that involves death, serious bodily injury, or the discharge of a firearm, by law enforcement and against law enforcement.
- Mandate reports on the use of “no-knock” warrants, and whether the warrant application was accurate, if force was used, or if a death or injury occurs.
Ensuring Law Enforcement Accountability:
- Require law enforcement agencies to maintain and share disciplinary records for officer hiring considerations.
- Provide $500 million for state and local law enforcement agencies to equip all officers with body cameras, improve use of body cameras, and store and retain footage.
- Increase criminal penalties for any individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies a police report.
Improving Officer Performance:
- Incentivize chokehold bans by withholding federal dollars to any law enforcement agency that has not implemented a chokehold ban, in conformance with the 2017 Law Enforcement Consensus Policy.
- Direct the Attorney General to develop training curricula, and certify public and private entities to offer training, regarding the duty of a law enforcement officer to intervene when another law enforcement officer is engaged in excessive force.
- Require the Department of Justice to develop and provide training that will enable law enforcement officers to better serve their communities with a focus on de-escalation techniques and law enforcement interaction with mentally ill individuals.
- Help implement community policing by reauthorizing the Department of Justice’s COPS on the Beat and Byrne JAG grant programs, whose authorization of appropriations lapsed in 2009 and 2012, respectively.
- Make lynching a federal crime.
- Create a bipartisan Commission to report on conditions affecting black men and boys, including education, health care, financial status, and the criminal justice system.