On Wednesday, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted to advance the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, comprehensive legislation that would establish a national standard for the operation of police departments, mandate law enforcement agencies report use of force data, and invest in community-based programs to help inspire public safety systems that are more equitable and just.
“Last year, countless Iowans and Americans across our nation raised their voices and sought long overdue and substantive changes to the systems that failed so many, including Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, and George Floyd – for whom this legislation is named,” said Rep. Axne. “It is long past time that we ensure our systems of justice and law enforcement protect everyone, regardless of the color of their skin. In Iowa, we saw bipartisan cooperation to continue the work of bending the arc of our nation towards justice – but there is more work to be done. By helping pass the Justice in Policing Act again this year, I’m reaffirming my commitment to tackling racism and bias in our institutions and taking direct steps to save lives and hold our police officers accountable.”
The Justice in Policing Act includes provisions to:
- Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling
- Ban chokeholds and carotid holds 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 require 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.
Rep. Axne was previously a cosponsor and supporter of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, 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.