Rep. Hakeem Jeffries
By Michael V. Cusenza
In a vote of 236-181, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
According to Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), the measure would implement significant policing reforms and address racial injustice. Specifically, it: bans chokeholds; stops no-knock warrants; ends the qualified immunity doctrine that is a barrier to holding police officers accountable for wrongful conduct; combats racial profiling; mandates data collection, including body cameras and dashboard cameras; and establishes new standards for policing.
“In response to the watershed moment of witnessing the brutal video of George Floyd being slowly murdered under the knee of a police officer, Americans across the country rose up with tears in our eyes demanding equal justice, and an end to structural racism and police brutality,” said Meng. “Our nation is crying out against a system that has caused so much harm to communities of color, especially to the black community. Today’s vote—on the one month anniversary of that tragedy—is a bold and transformative step forward to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, and eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement; it is a step toward transforming the culture of policing, increasing transparency, and combating the epidemic of racial injustice. We cannot, and will not, turn our backs on the cries for justice—and we most certainly cannot go back to a system that would look the other way when faced with police brutality. The Senate must now follow the House’s lead, and immediately pass this vital legislation, because this moment of national anguish demands nothing less.”
The bill’s sponsor is Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Queens and Brooklyn).
“To the protesters: we hear you, we see you, we are you. We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Jeffries said in remarks delivered on the House floor. “America is a great country; we’ve come a long way, we still have a long way to go. We’re tired of police violence in a country where the Declaration of Independence promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We’re tired of police violence in a country where the Pledge of Allegiance promises liberty and justice for all. We’re tired of police violence in a country where the Constitution promises equal protection under the law. We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.”