Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The bill addresses police misconduct and racial profiling and is an important step in police reform prompted by nationwide protests and activism.
Since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement on May 25, Black Lives Matter demonstrators across the US have demanded radical police reform. Several celebrities also took a stand and signed an open letter pushing for the legislation to pass.
The bill passing is a small victory for the Black Lives Matter movement and the continuing demand for justice in countless cases of racially-motivated police violence.
Not sure what the George Gloyd Justice in Policing Act is? Find our brief guide below.
What is it?
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a comprehensive plan that aims to address many of the issues regarding systemic racism and brutality in law enforcement.
As the NAACP explains, “the legislation holds all law enforcement officials accountable for their actions, ends ‘qualified immunity’ for police officers, ends racial and religious profiling, empowers our communities, establishes uniform policies for the use of force, mandates data collection on police encounters, bans chokeholds and ‘no knock’ warrants.”
Notably, the legislation also “limits military equipment on American streets, requires body-worn cameras, and classifies lynching as a hate crime, therefore making it open to Federal resources for investigations and prosecutions.” It also establishes a national police misconduct registry and a framework to ban racial profiling at the federal, state, and local levels.
Who signed it?
The bill was originally introduced by the Democratic Party. On Thursday, The House of Representatives passed the police legislation despite Republican opposition.
This follows a campaign and petition by the NAACP.
Family members of Black individuals who have died at the hands of police in recent years, such as the mothers of Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, also released a statement on Thursday in support of the bill.
Several members of the music and entertainment industries also supported the new legislation by signing an open letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy. Rihanna, Meek Mill, Ariana Grande, Kehlani, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Grimes, and A$AP Ferg were among the celebrities who leant their voice to the cause. You can find the full letter and see the complete list of signees here.
What will the bill do?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the new bill will "fundamentally transform" the US police culture and "save lives."
The bill's ratification is a hopeful sign that radical police reforms will be implemented that will not only hold officers accountable for police violence but will hopefully significantly reduce cases of racist police brutality in the US.
"With the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the House is honoring his life and the lives of all killed by police brutality, and pledging: never again," Pelosi said. "We have the opportunity and the obligation to ensure that his death, and the deaths of so many others, are not in vain."