Toyin Awesu, Director of Communications
(Blck PR Wire) Washington, D.C. – On June 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. ET, the House Judiciary Committee will markup the Justice in Policing Act, the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the culture of law enforcement, empower our communities, and build trust between law enforcement and our communities by addressing systemic racism and bias to help save lives. Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA), Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on June 8, 2020.
On June 10, 2020, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine the crisis of racial profiling, police brutality and lost trust between police departments and the communities they serve.
Date: June 17, 2020
Time: 10:00 a.m. ET
Location: Congressional Auditorium
U.S. Capitol Visitors Center
On June 2, 2020, Chair Bass and Chairman Nadler convened a briefing with national advocacy organizations for House Judiciary Committee Democratic Members and congressional staff. There were representatives from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Urban League, Obama Administration U.S. Department of Justice COPS Office, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the Center for Policing Equity. Nearly 100 participants, including Members of Congress, staff, and advocates, joined the virtual briefing.
On May 28, 2020, all House Judiciary Democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to demand they investigate the prosecutors involved in the case of Ahmaud Arbery and open investigations into the police departments involved with the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. The letter is available here.
Federal law prohibits any governmental authority from engaging in a “pattern or practice” of conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives persons of their constitutional rights. This federal statute also authorizes the Attorney General to initiate a civil action to obtain appropriate equitable or declaratory relief to eliminate such a pattern or practice.
In the wake of high-profile applications of fatal force by police against unarmed African American men in Ferguson, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Chicago, the Justice Department investigated policing practices in those cities and uncovered rampant abuses of constitutional rights and civil liberties. During the Obama Administration, the Justice Department negotiated consent decree agreements with the police departments in all four cities. Following President Trump’s election and his appointment of Jefferson B. Sessions as Attorney General, the Justice Department abruptly changed its interpretation of its statutory role to eliminate patterns and practices of unconstitutional conduct in local police departments.
In May 2019, Chairman Nadler, Chair Bass and several House Judiciary Committee Democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice seeking information about actions it was taking to reduce police-involved violence, including its use of consent decrees and pattern and practice investigations. To date, there has been no substantive response. On September 19, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to address unconstitutional conduct by state and local law enforcement officials.
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