U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has joined a legislative effort to provide police reform, accountability and transparency.
Blackburn said she became a cosponsor of U.S. Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act.
On Wednesday, Blackburn said, “Recent events have highlighted the necessity to make changes to our current system, and the American people have made it clear that the status quo does not reflect our nation’s values. In yesterday’s Judiciary Committee hearing, we gained insight from police chiefs and those who are charged with keeping the public safe. Police departments need more funding for training and tools to de-escalate conflict.”
Scott said, “Now is the time for reform. The murder of George Floyd and its aftermath made clear from sea to shining sea that action must be taken to rebuild lost trust between communities of color and law enforcement. The JUSTICE Act takes smart, commonsense steps to address these issues, from ending the use of chokeholds and increasing the use of body worn cameras, to providing more resources for police departments to better train officers and make stronger hiring decisions. I want to thank Leader McConnell and the entire task force not just for their hard work on putting this bill together, but for their commitment to finding real solutions.”
Blackburn tweeted, “Thanks to @SenatorTimScott for his commitment to and leadership on police reform. The American people have made it clear that the status quo does not reflect our nation’s values. It is my hope that the JUSTICE Act passes in the Senate with ample bipartisan support.”
Thanks to @SenatorTimScott for his commitment to and leadership on police reform. The American people have made it clear that the status quo does not reflect our nation’s values. It is my hope that the JUSTICE Act passes in the Senate with ample bipartisan support.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) June 17, 2020
Among other things, the bill would strengthen training and tactics for police, especially for de-escalation of force and the duty to intervene, providing law enforcement with new funding to do so, and end the practice of using chokeholds. It would help departments match the communities they serve and help hiring departments have access to applicants’ prior disciplinary records.
Also, the act would increase the use of body cameras and ensure the video is stored.
The act would make lynching a federal crime as well.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.