Sweeping Police Reform Legislation Introduced in Congress

First step to criminal justice system reform, but more divestment from policing and investment in communities needed 

Washington, DC – Yesterday, congressional Democrats introduced the Justice in Policing Act, which would critically reform policing. The bill holds police accountable in the courts, improves transparency in policing through better data on police misconduct and use-of-force, and improves police training and practices. These measures include:

  • Limits on use of force
  • Ban on profiling
  •  Restrictions on policies such as qualified immunity for police officers who violate an individual’s constitutional rights
  • Ban on No-Knock warrants in drug cases
  • And limits on the transfer of military equipment to state and local law enforcement.
While the bill is a step in the direction of policy changes necessary to end generations of police violence against Black communities, Congress must do more to disinvest from law enforcement and reinvest in communities, including helping them thrive by resourcing quality public education, mental health support, housing, employment, and other critical social services. Rather than defunding police, the bill allows hundreds of millions of more in funding to law enforcement, and it only restricts, rather than eliminates, programs and policies that have disproportionately harmed Black communities.

“We applaud the introduction of the Justice in Policing Act and we are hopeful for the conversations about police reform it will move forward,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “However, police violence persists because our country’s law enforcement and justice system are rooted in systematic racial inequity, oppression, and discrimination, and especially in anti-Blackness. In order to prevent further police violence and bring justice to all who have been impacted by it–George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others–Congress must act boldly to help communities rebuild. On the 45th year anniversary of Southeast Asian American resettlement and resilience in America, it is incumbent on us as allies to stand with the Black community now more than ever to demand justice and true change.”