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House passes the George Floyd Policing Act

Legislation now goes to the Senate

In a bipartisan vote, Congress has approved the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 which if enacted would hold police accountable for their actions.

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The House voted 236 to 181 to approve the legislation on June 25. It will now go to the Senate where its chances of being approved the way it is written are considered bleak to put it mildly.

The legislation is named in honor of George Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25. Chauvin has been charged with second -degree murder and manslaughter.

Floyd’s violent death sparked worldwide demonstrations over police brutality and in some jurisdictions government officials are appointing special prosecutors to investigate older cases where individuals, like Elijah McClain, 23, of Aurora, Colorado, and others who have died while in police custody.

The legislation, written and introduced by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, is a comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement, empower our communities and build trust between law enforcement and our communities by addressing systemic racism and bias to help save lives.

U.S. Rep Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus

Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D., New Jersey) and Kamala Harris (D., California) and Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on June 8. The legislation has 231 cosponsors in the House and 36 in the Senate.

The legislation would ban chokeholds, end racial and religious profiling, eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement, establish a national standard for the operation of police departments, mandate data collection on police encounters, reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs, and streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.

Bass, a California Democrat, said the bill’s passage is a victory for our entire country. “For too long, Black Americans have endured systemic racism and discrimination—especially from police. We now call on our colleagues in the Senate to commit to a good faith negotiation on the provisions put forward by the House in the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act.”

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