On Monday morning, the Democrats unveiled a bill in the House of Representatives proposing a plan to reform police policy. It should be a huge bill to hold law enforcement officials to account for any abuses and to increase transparency. The bill was tabled in the midst of national protests in response to the death of George Floyd.
The account led by the Congressional Black Caucus was announced at a press conference Monday morning with Congressional President Nancy Pelosi, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris and other Congressional Democrats. The bill is 136 pages long and contains reforms to make it easier to prosecute police officers for misconduct in civil courts. The text of the bill, called the Law Enforcement in Criminal Matters Act 2020, was provided to the correspondent of the CBS news by an official of the Democratic Chamber of Deputies.
Prior to the start of the major police reform, Democrats knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds in the Emancipation Hall on American Capitol Hill to commemorate Floyd and other African Americans who had been killed by law enforcers.
In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Nancy Cordes, the chairman of the Black Party, said she believes that the strong support for police reform shows that another moment has come in our country.
Sometimes things take a long time to change, but this time it’s very different: you have an absolute rainbow of people on the streets, and in some cases, in some cities, when I look into a television camera, I have to pay attention to African-Americans, she told CBS News. Today there are people all over the country who understand this issue more than ever. They used to talk about it when the surveys were being held: I’ve never had problems with the police, so I don’t know what the problem is. I think we’ve finally crossed a bridge where people can say: It’s not my experience, but I know it’s yours.
California Democrat Bas told reporters at a press conference the same day that the package has more than 200 co-founders in the House of Representatives and Senate.
This moment of national suffering is turning into a national action movement in which Americans across the country are protesting peacefully to end injustice, Pelosi said.
Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer has asked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to submit the bill to the Senate for debate and a vote by July.
The Americans who took to the streets this week asked for a change, he said. It’s a law that Democrats listen to their calls.
Democrats in the House of Representatives have tabled an ambitious bill to reform the police.
The bill would change the requirement of the federal criminal code for intent in prosecuting police misconduct and would change the standard of prosecution from intent to recklessness. It would also reform qualified immunity, i.e. individuals could claim damages if their constitutional rights are violated by law enforcement officials.
The bill aims to implement structural reforms within the Ministry of Justice by empowering it to sue civil rights courts. The bill will also encourage State Attorneys General to carry out systematic and practical investigations in local police forces and will provide grants to the States for the establishment of structures to investigate police deaths.
The legislation aimed to improve transparency by establishing a national register of police misconduct, and national and local law enforcement agencies were required to report data on the use of violence broken down by race, sex, disability, religion and age.
The bill also aims to put an end to cultural bias in police work by making racial education compulsory. It will also change the standard for assessing the validity of the use of force. At the moment, civil servants only have to prove that the use of force was reasonable. The bill will change the standard, so civil servants will have to prove the need to use force. The bill also requires federal law enforcement to carry cameras on their bodies and restricts the transfer of military equipment to the state and local law enforcement.
This would prohibit the issuing of no-hit arrest warrants in drug cases, which means policemen can’t get to people’s homes without a fight. The protesters called for an end to the practice after police officers in Louisville shot Kentucky Breonna Taylor in her bed after she entered her house after a knock order. The bill also prohibits strangulation by the police. Floyd died after being pinned down by a policeman with a knee around his neck for almost nine minutes.
The bill contains a section that makes lynching a hate crime after the Senate failed to pass the anti-lynch law last week. It is not clear whether this package will receive the support of the Senate, which is controlled by the Republican Party.
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National protests over the death of George Floyd.
Some protesters had called for an increase in police work, but the Lower House bill did not provide for special funding for police services, but for subsidies for public organisations to create partnerships that would enable greater accountability.
Bass told CBS News that he does not support the removal of police funding, but rather the need to address community spending. The law invests in the police, but not with new money.
I think that the move to defuse the police, always recognizing that they insist on dealing with community problems and their causes, can be used as a diversionary tactic, Bass said. But for me it’s not that important, because people who want to distract themselves from this movement are going to use everything, they’re going to call for order and authority, they’re going to say that there’s a terrorist element involved. So I will not be distracted by their attempts to divert attention from what I believe to be legitimate concerns raised by community activists.
The Democrat from California called the level of support this measure has received, with some 200 legislators on board, a damn good start.
I don’t think the police want to be in a situation where if they see another officer doing something wrong, corrupt and abusing society, I don’t think the police want to work in an environment where they can’t do anything, can’t say anything, but have to do something, Bass said. And we hope that this will encourage a change in police culture, so that the police do not hide people they know to be problematic.
President Trump accused former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democratic candidate, of supporting calls for police failure, while Biden’s campaign Monday said the former vice president did not believe the police should fail. In his speech last week, Biden called for strangulation to be abolished and police training to be improved. During his first 100 days in office, if elected in November, he undertook to set up a police monitoring board.
Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.