Congressman Albio Sires voted in favor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act on Thursday. The measure passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 236-181.
The Congressman issued the following statement: “I was proud to vote in favor of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, an important step forward as we confront the systemic racism that has plagued our nation since its founding. We must address the bias and historical lack of accountability in our policing systems. In addition, this bill includes H.R. 35, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would make lynching a federal crime. I am a cosponsor of H.R. 35 and fully support it but due to a medical emergency, as reported at the time, I was unable to vote in favor of it when it passed the House earlier this year. Tonight’s vote reinforces my ardent support for the Emmett Till Antilynching Act and policies that will make our society a more just, transparent, and accountable one.”
The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would hold police accountable in courts by reforming qualified immunity so that people aren’t barred from recovering damages, amending the mens rea requirement, giving the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power, and incentivizing the creation of independent investigative structures. It would also improve transparency by creating a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent officers from changing jurisdictions to avoid accountability and mandating state and local law enforcement agencies report detailed use of force data. The bill includes provisions to improve police training and practices by ending racial and religious profiling, banning no-knock warrants in drug cases, banning chokeholds and carotid holds, raising the standard to evaluate whether use of force was justified, limiting transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement, and requiring federal, state, and local law enforcement use body cameras. In addition, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would make lynching a federal crime.