WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — a former federal law enforcement officer — today released the following statement after voting in support of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, legislation she cosponsored that would address issues of systemic racism within law enforcement and increase accountability in U.S. police departments.
“The brutal killing of George Floyd captured, on video, the centuries of injustices perpetrated against our Black communities. In time, we will all be judged on whether we sought to transform a status quo that has senselessly stolen the lives of countless spouses, brothers, sisters, parents, and friends. It falls on all of us to recognize our role in the renewed fight against discrimination and systemic racism,” said Spanberger. “This legislation — named in George Floyd’s memory — would ban chokeholds, eliminate long-standing biases, protect funding for critical community policing initiatives, reform qualified immunity, and increase accountability for misconduct. Additionally, it would reduce the trend of militarization in local police departments across the country. For generations, our country has failed to live up to the promise of equal justice under law, but together, we have an opportunity in this moment to make Central Virginia a safer and more compassionate place for all.”
Specifically, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act includes provisions to:
- Ban chokeholds and carotid holds,
- Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling,
- 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 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, and
- Reform qualified immunity, so that Americans are not entirely barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representative Karen Bass (D-CA-37), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has worked to close equity gaps in criminal justice, healthcare, economic opportunity, environmental justice, housing, internet, education, and food access. Earlier this week, Spanberger and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC-06) held a virtual conversation with Central Virginia faith leaders, advocates, and community leaders to discuss recent actions taken in the U.S. House to address issues of racism, equity, and police reform. Click here to watch a recording of the full conversation.
Click here to read more about Spanberger’s cosponsorship of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and her commitment to addressing systemic racism and racial injustice.