HAYES VOTES IN FAVOR OF LEGISLATION TO REFORM TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN POLICING

March 4, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) voted for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021. This crucial piece of legislation is designed to provide much needed training, resources, and oversight of law enforcement agencies, while protecting communities that have been subjected to disproportionate levels of police violence.

“Today, the House took a step forward in addressing police accountability,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “I recognize that any solution will have to include proper training and resources for law enforcement agencies in order to reform their practices, while building trust between departments and the communities they serve.”

“The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will redirect resources to areas where law enforcement really need them: training, accountability, and transparency. Law enforcement officers are called for situations ranging from an overdose to mental health crisis, but are not prepared to properly address these varying responsibilities. Putting resources where it matters, rather than resorting to the use of force, is what this legislation aims to achieve.”

Specifically, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will:

  • Work to End Racial & Religious Profiling by:
    • Prohibiting racial, religious and discriminatory profiling by law enforcement;
    • Mandating training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling; and
    • Requiring law enforcement to collect data on all investigatory activities.
  • Save Lives by:
    • Banning chokeholds & no-knock warrants;
    • Requiring that deadly force be used only as a last resort; and
    • Changing the standard for use of force justification from “reasonable” to “necessary.”
  • Limit Military Equipment on American Streets & Requires Body Cameras by:
    • Limiting the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement;
    • Requiring federal uniformed police officers wear body cameras;
    • Requiring state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras; and
    • Requiring marked federal police vehicles to have dashboard cameras.
  • Holds Police Accountable in Court by:
    • Making it easier to prosecute offending officers through amending the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard; and
    • Enabling individuals to recover damages in civil court when law enforcement officers violate their constitutional rights by eliminating qualified immunity for law enforcement.
  • Improves investigation of police misconduct by:
    • Granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power in pattern and practice investigations; and
    • Creating a grant program for state attorneys general to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
  • Reinvests in Our Communities by:
    • Supporting critical community-based programs to change the culture of law enforcement and empower our communities to reimagine public safety in an equitable and just way.
  • Change the Culture of Law Enforcement by:
    • Requiring the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing;
    • Creating law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices;
    • Requiring the Attorney General to collect data on investigatory actions and detentions by federal law enforcement agencies; the racial distribution of drug charges; the use of deadly force by and against law enforcement officers; as well as traffic and pedestrian stops and detentions; and
    • Establishing a DOJ task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.
  • Improve Transparency by Collecting Data on Police Misconduct and Use-of-Force by:
    • Creating a nationwide police misconduct registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability:
    • Mandating state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age. Stop Sexual Assault in Law Enforcement Custody; and
    • Making it a crime for a federal law enforcement officer to engage in a sexual act with an individual who is under arrest, in detention, or in custody. It prohibits consent as a defense to prosecution for unlawful conduct. Incentivizes states to set the same standards.

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Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.

Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.