The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is coming up for a vote in the first week of March and it must pass.
The full legislative title and purpose of the act is: To hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct in court, improve transparency through data collection, and reform police training and policies.
[You can read the full legislative text here.]
The act is needed following a never-ending string of grotesque murders and abuses by police against Black citizens all across the country over the past few years, decades, and centuries.
Police reform is needed in large and small ways. Police funding needs to be reduced and training changed and enhanced. The consequences for corruption, murder, abuses, lies, and other malfeasance are as needed as they have always been needed.
The reform in policing act gets us closer to where we need to be but does not solve all of the issues. No legislation can do that nor is it designed to do that.
This act is designed to make changes that will have an immediate impact on policing and give states and municipalities the framework for additional structural changes that can be implemented, studied, and evaluated against similar efforts from across the country.
Analysis can then be used by cities to implement other reforms and compile comparative data so that we have continuous improvement in policing.
Black people want police to stop killing us and harassing us when we are minding our own business. We want to sleep, work, walk, jog, eat, talk, smoke, drink, read, study birds, and play with our kids without being harassed by police who either happen to be around or who were weaponized by a white person who called them because we were busy existing.
Asking the police that we fund to not kill us seems like a reasonable request.
But in America we need to make the request and then write legislation to place laws on the books that can be utilized when we are shot and killed, kneeled on, choked to death, or beaten. These bills should also make it possible to file effective lawsuits against the cities and states which refuse to follow the law.
Now is a good time to call and/or write your representative to ensure they vote to pass this important legislation.
We can’t get George Floyd or the thousands of other Black women, men, and children murdered by the police back but we can start a process that will prevent the next Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, or all the others taken from us far too soon.
This article originally appears here.
© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton
Image courtesy Twitter account of Rep. Terri Sewell.
Image courtesy of Jimmy Panetta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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