Wednesday, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) announced that she is cosponsoring the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a comprehensive piece of legislation that will improve accountability and data collection for police misconduct, ban the use of chokeholds and other dangerous tactics, require racial discrimination training and the creation of department accreditation standards, and empower communities to confront systemic racism and racial bias in public safety institutions.
“All across our country and right here in Iowa, communities are marching for justice and substantive change to the systems that failed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many other African Americans. The changes they demand are long overdue – and I share their desire for a robust response that will not only tackle racism and bias in our institutions, but also takes direct steps to save lives and hold our police officers accountable,” said Rep. Axne. “I am pleased to join my colleagues from the Congressional Black Caucus and more than 200 members of the House and Senate to back this comprehensive approach to reforming our police departments, curbing police brutality, and empowering our communities to seek transparency and accountability from those who have sworn to protect them.”
The bill includes provisions to:
- Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling
- Ban chokeholds and carotid holds at the federal level, as well as condition law enforcement funding for state and local governments on banning chokeholds
- Create a nationwide police misconduct registry to prevent problematic officers from moving to another jurisdiction without accountability
- Mandate state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, and age
- Establish public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to improve public safety
- Limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement
- Require state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras, and requires federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras
- Create law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations, as well as law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices
In addition, the legislation also requires law enforcement to collect data on all investigatory activities, mandates training on racial and other discriminatory profiling, and makes changes to ensure officers can be held accountable in court by amending criminal statutes and qualified immunity protections for law enforcement.
Last week, Rep. Axne issued a statement affirming the need for swift and specific action to respond to the deaths of Floyd, Taylor, and Arbery.
Rep. Axne is also a co-sponsor of the Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act,the Police Training and Independent Review Act, and the Closing the Law Enforcement Consent Loophole Act.