Buchanan Co-Sponsors “JUSTICE Act” to Reform Police Procedures
Congress Buchanan Press Release
WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan today co-sponsored legislation to reform police procedures nationwide following the brutal murder of George Floyd.
The bill, which addresses chokeholds, body cameras, de-escalation training and greater reporting of use-of-force incidents, is a companion to legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC.
“The killing of George Floyd has sparked a reform movement that should be answered at the federal, state and local levels of government,” Buchanan said. “I’m hopeful that bipartisan action will be taken to ensure that every American receives equal treatment under the law.”
Congress is expected to vote on the issue next week.
“Our elected leaders at all levels need to come together and reassure people that their voices will be heard and the issue of racial justice and excessive police force will be addressed,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan said the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act includes common-sense steps to address police accountability.
Specifically, the JUSTICE Act, introduced in the House today, would:
- Provide $500 million for state and local law enforcement agencies to equip all officers with body cameras, improve the use of body cameras, and store and retain footage.
- Ban the use of chokeholds in all situations except where deadly force is authorized for federal law enforcement officers. State and local law enforcement would be ineligible for federal grant funding if they do not prohibit the use of chokeholds in all situations except where deadly force is authorized.
- Require law enforcement agencies to maintain disciplinary records for officers and share these records with other departments during the hiring process.
- Direct the Attorney General to create training curricula on the duty of law enforcement to intervene and de-escalate when another officer is using excessive force and provides $500 million for departments to conduct this training.
- Require that state and local law enforcement report all incidents where use-of-force results in death, serious bodily injury or the discharge of a firearm.
- Improve law enforcement transparency through additional reporting including annual reporting on the use of force and reporting on no-knock warrants.
Buchanan also said he is open to additional measures beyond the JUSTICE Act to ensure that police are following proper procedures in performing their duties. He said those could include limiting the transfer of certain military equipment to local law enforcement, providing funding for independent investigations into unnecessary use of deadly force and mandating racial bias training. Buchanan said he has reached out to African American leaders in Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as law-enforcement to discuss the need for reform.
The murder of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis has led to nationwide protests calling for changes to police procedure. The officer responsible for Floyd’s death has been charged with murder.
The JUSTICE Act also includes Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson’s proposal to create a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act.