Congressman Tim Ryan Joins Congressional Black Caucus in Introducing Legislation Addressing Systemic Racism in Law Enforcement | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Tim Ryan Joins Congressional Black Caucus in Introducing Legislation Addressing Systemic Racism in Law Enforcement

June 8, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) today joined the Congressional Black Caucus to introduce legislation addressing systemic racism in the American law enforcement and justice system. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would implement structural reforms to help end the cycle of disproportionate profiling and killing of people of color by police. In light of the pain and anguish over decades of systemic racism that has resurfaced with the killing of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Congressman Ryan joins with 165 other Democratic lawmakers, including Reps. Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), and Marcia Fudge (OH-11), and Senate Democrats to introduce this bill.

“Our country has a long and fraught history of systemic racism that we must acknowledge and address head on. By bringing justice to policing, we can begin to dismantle the inequities that were woven into the fabric of this country since its founding,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “No American should fear those who are appointed to serve and protect us. As we would expect of any other profession, our law enforcement officers must be accountable for their actions. This legislation is an important step towards that accountability,”

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 will:

  • Hold police accountable in our courts by
    • Amending the mens rea requirement in 18 U.S.C. Section 242, the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct, from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard;
    • Reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not entirely barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights;
    • Improve the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and incentivizing state attorneys general to conduct pattern and practice investigations;
    • Incentivize states to create independent investigative structures for police involved deaths through grants; and
    • Create best practices recommendations based on the Obama 21st Century Policing Task force.
  • Improve transparency into policing by collecting better and more accurate data of police misconduct and use-of-force by:  
    • Creating a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problem-officers from changing jurisdictions to avoid accountability; and
    • Mandate state and local law enforcement agencies report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
  • Improve police training and practices by:   
    • Ending racial and religious profiling;
    • Mandating training on racial bias and the duty to intervene;
    • Banning no-knock warrants in drug cases;
    • Banning chokeholds and carotid holds;
    • Changing the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was reasonable to whether the force was necessary;
    • Limiting the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement;
    • Requiring federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras; and 
    • Requiring state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.

Make lynching a federal crime by:

  • Making it a federal crime to conspire to violate existing federal hate crimes laws.

According to the research group Mapping Police Violence, African Americans are twice as likely to be killed by police as Latinx people, and three times more likely than white people. The same study also found that black people are 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed when they’re killed by police than white people are.

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 has the support of a broad coalition of civil rights organizations including: Demand Progress, Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Action Network, National African American Clergy Network, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), Black Millennial Convention, and the National Urban League.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

A section-by-section summary of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is available here.

A fact sheet on the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is available here.

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