JUSTICE Act addresses police reforms, law enforcement accountability, transparency
Today, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) joined her colleagues in introducing companion legislation in the House to Sen. Tim Scott’s bill, the JUSTICE Act, legislation designed to create improvements to policing practices, and improve accountability and transparency among law enforcement.
“It’s time for Congress to take action to make sure every single one of us is treated equally, has the same access to justice, and can count on law enforcement to keep us safe,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’m proud to help introduce the JUSTICE Act in the House to improve police training, and ultimately bring about positive changes to policing practices so our law enforcement can continue to responsibly protect and serve our communities, while also working to end racial injustice.”
Here’s a summary of what the JUSTICE Act is designed to accomplish:
• Strengthens training methods and tactics, especially regarding de-escalation of force, and will take critical steps to end the use of chokeholds by withholding federal funds from law enforcement agencies that do not ban the maneuver in situations where deadly force is not authorized
• Reforms hiring practices to ensure law enforcement better reflects their communities
• Ensures disciplinary records of law enforcement officers are shared during the hiring process. There have been multiple instances of officers involved in tragic interactions having past discipline issues of which the current employer was unaware.
• Funds additional body cameras and data maintenance
• Requires reporting and justification of “no knock warrants” and when an officer has discharged a weapon or used force
• Establishes the National Criminal Justice Commission to complete a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system
• Creates a commission to offer solutions to a broad range of challenges facing black men and boys, based on bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL)
• Makes lynching a federal crime
• Closes the consent loophole to make officers engaging in a sexual act with an individual in custody a crime
The full text of the JUSTICE Act is available here (https://jhb.house.gov/uploadedfiles/staumn_049_xml.pdf), and a section by section analysis is available here (https://jhb.house.gov/uploadedfiles/justice_act_section_by_section_pdf.pdf).