(Arlington, VA) – Today, The LIBRE Initiative, an organization committed to empowering the Latino community, announced its support for a series of bills designed to improve policing standards across the country.
Daniel Garza, president of The LIBRE Initiative, issued the following statement:
“As a former police officer, I understand how important the bond is between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. Unfortunately, it’s clear that we are in dire need of transforming police culture and improving policing standards. The good news is that policymakers are coming together to introduce legislation that will reduce overcriminalization, and remove unnecessary barriers that are getting in the way of good policing so that local law enforcement officials can focus their resources and energy in dealing with serious crimes. We commend U.S. Sens. Scott (SC) and Braun, as well as U.S. Representative Roy for their leadership on this issue and encourage lawmakers, from both sides of the aisle, to legislate in good faith to improve policing standards and transform policing culture.”
Justice Act – Senator Tim Scott
- Requires state and local governments receiving certain federal funds to report all use of force events that cause serious injury or death or where there’s a firearm discharged to the FBI Use-of-Force Data Collection. This publicly available data would include incident information, subject information, and officer information.
- Requires state and local governments receiving certain federal funding and federal law enforcement to report to the attorney general information on each no-knock warrant carried out and denies certain federal funding for law enforcement agencies (LEAs) that do not have an updated policy on chokeholds that only allows their use in situations when deadly force is authorized by law.
- Creates a new crime of “false reporting” when a person knowingly and willfully falsifies a police report to cover-up a civil rights violation where death or serious bodily injury occurred.
- Incentivizes transparency, proper training, and accountability by offering grants for clear body camera guidelines and programs and requires state or local governments to maintain a system for sharing disciplinary records and requiring their consideration when making hiring decisions.
- Includes the creation of the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys to better understand the unique conditions black men and boys face in regards to education, health care, criminal justice, and financial inequities.
- Requires the DOJ Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to develop curriculum and certification standards for training regarding use of force, de-escalation, and responding to behavioral health crises.
- Requires the AG to develop training for local and state law enforcement regarding officers intervening when another officer engages in excessive use of force. Establishes the National Criminal Justice Commission to undergo a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system.
- Addresses hiring disparities in law enforcement.
- Rightly criminalizes federal law enforcement engaging in sexual acts with an individual who is under arrest, is detained or is in prison — while in the line of duty, while incentivizing states to do the same.
Reforming Qualified Immunity Act – Senator Mike Braun
- Clarifies the current judicially created doctrine of “qualified immunity”.
- This bill reforms certain defenses created by courts that have helped bad government actors go un-accountable while allowing immunity when their conduct was, at the time, authorized by law or the courts and they reasonably believed their conduct was in line with the Constitution or federal law.
Count the Crimes to Cut Act of 2020 – Representative Chip Roy
- There are over 5,000 criminal federal laws in statute, and it is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of regulatory offenses created by bureaucrats that carry a criminal penalty.
- The Count the Crimes to Cut Act would require the AG and certain federal agencies to submit a report cataloguing all criminal laws in statute and in agency regulations along with information on potential penalties and what standard of intent (mens rea) is required.
- By developing a repository of all criminal offenses, Congress can subsequently reduce government by removing or reforming laws and regulations that are unnecessary for public safety.
- This bill is an important first step in reducing interactions between the community and police that can potentially have a tragic ending.