Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday joined Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) in reintroducing the Walter Scott Notification Act. This critical legislation requires states receiving federal law enforcement funding to report a number of details surrounding officer-related shootings.
“My heart is broken over the events of the last week, from the needless murder of George Floyd, to the tragic death of retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn. When it comes to race and justice in this nation, solutions are needed now. I want to thank Chairman Grassley and Senators Ernst and Lankford for joining me in reintroducing the Walter Scott Notification Act. The fact is, without proper data in regards to officer-related shootings, we cannot find lasting solutions in this area. I will continue working in the coming weeks to introduce new solutions around race, justice, and ensuring people of all colors and economic classes have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” Scott said.
“Anytime a law enforcement officer uses deadly force, it’s a tragedy. Our nation is rightly disturbed and angry about abuses at the hands of police. The sad reality is that sometimes, deadly force is justified to protect our communities. We need to better understand instances of deadly force to address any abuses and improve law enforcement’s ability to serve all of us. The data collected under this legislation will help law enforcement, lawmakers and the public learn more about these events and prevent them in the future, ” Grassley said.
“The murder of George Floyd was a preventable tragedy. It’s clear that we have recurring issues of police officers abusing their authority. We need to know all the facts surrounding these horrific events, and one step in doing that is to require oversight and transparency from any police department that receives federal funding,” Ernst said.
“Our nation is hurting and crying out to fix underlying systemic injustices that have existed for far too long. While no one bill or law will fix racism and heal our land, we should continue to take positive steps to create transparency to build trust and understanding. It is essential that individuals continue to reach out to others, stand up with compassion to injustice, and finally learn the ugly lessons of our past,” Lankford said.
Under the proposed legislation, states would be required to keep track of a number of data points, including name, race, description of event, and overall circumstances that led up to the weapon being discharged. A state that fails to comply with the prescribed requirements could be subject to a ten percent reduction in federal grant funds.
Senator Scott first introduced the Walter Scott Notification Act following the murder of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina in 2015. He has reintroduced the bill a number of times since.