Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN-08), a former law enforcement officer of more than 20 years, announced last week that he will carry police reform legislation in the U.S. House.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced on Wednesday the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act, a Republican-backed police reform bill that was set in motion after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Stauber, who introduced the House companion of the JUSTICE Act on Thursday, said he “was devastated watching the video of George Floyd dying at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.”
“The cruel and inhumane actions perpetrated by those officers go against everything I stood for during my time in law enforcement,” Stauber said in a statement. “George Floyd’s life mattered, and the best way to honor his memory is by enacting change within police departments nationwide. That’s why I am proud to introduce the JUSTICE Act, which offers pragmatic solutions to improve policing.”
The bill aims to improve law enforcement transparency by requiring annual reports from police departments on use-of-force incidents that involve death, serious bodily injury, or the discharge of a firearm. Under the legislation, agencies would be required to maintain and share disciplinary records with one another and review those records before making a hiring decision.
Additionally, the bill would provide $500 million to state and local law enforcement agencies to equip all officers with body cameras. Another provision in the bill would increase criminal penalties for any individual who knowingly falsifies a police report.
In regards to improving officer performance, the bill would withhold federal dollars from any law enforcement agency that has not implemented a chokehold ban.
If passed, the U.S. Attorney General and Department of Justice would be asked to develop training curricula on de-escalation techniques, interacting with mentally ill individuals, and duty to intervene requirements.
“In order to truly make progress on public safety, and unite this nation, it is imperative to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The JUSTICE Act will do just that by implementing community policing best practices, creating transparency when it comes to reporting incidents with law enforcement, and holding officers and departments alike accountable for their actions,” Stauber said.
“Delivering lasting reform should not be a partisan issue, and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this important issue. Our nation is calling for change, and I am confident that we will rise to the occasion.”
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