Rep. Larsen votes for police conduct reform, equal justice legislation

Rep. Rick Larsen

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen Thursday voted for landmark legislation to halt police violence, help build confidence in law enforcement and keep communities safe. The Justice In Policing Act passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 236 to 181.

“Real justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Sandra Bland and countless others and their families means ending police brutality and addressing the systemic issues that enable racism and inequity to persist,” said Larsen, a 2nd District Democrat who represents Mountlake Terrace and Brier in Congress. “This bill includes practical, life-saving reforms developed with input from the Second District community and elected leaders to demilitarize law enforcement, hold officers accountable for misconduct, improve transparency and establish 21st-century standards for protecting communities.”

“In my conversations with local leaders and community members, one message has been clear: Police conduct reform alone is not enough,” he added. I will continue to listen to and work with local, state and federal leaders to address systemic racism that limits opportunity and equity for millions of Black Americans.”

Specifically, the Justice in Policing Act:

  • Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
  • Bans chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level.
  • Restricts the transfer of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement.
  • Mandates the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal offices and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds for police body cameras.
  • Establishes a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave the agency from moving to another jurisdiction.
  • Amends federal criminal statute from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard to successfully identify and prosecute police misconduct.
  • Reforms qualified immunity so individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
  • Establishes public safety grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions for developing and reviewing local police policies in their communities.
  • Creates law enforcement training programs requiring focus on de-escalation, racial and cultural bias and procedural justice.
  • Requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data including the relevant race, sex, disability, religion, and age.
  • Authorizes the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to use subpoena power in pattern and practice investigations.
  • Creates a grant program for state attorneys general to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
  • Establishes a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.

Earlier this month, Larsen co-sponsored Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling and the use of excessive force. He supports Rep. Frederica Wilson’s bipartisan bill to establish a federal commission to study the fundamental systemic racism facing Black men and boys in the United States.

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