Spanberger Votes to Pass George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

The Legislation Would Increase Funding for Local Community Policing Commissions & Task Forces, Improve Accountability for Misconduct, & More

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — a former federal law enforcement officer — tonight voted to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, legislation that would address issues of systemic racism within law enforcement, protect funding for critical community policing initiatives, and increase accountability in U.S. police departments.

In June 2020, Spanberger cosponsored and voted to pass the initial version of the George Floyd Justice Policing Act in the wake of the brutal murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

“Throughout our history, countless Black brothers, sisters, spouses, parents, and friends have been killed at the hands of a senseless status quo. The murder of George Floyd last year captured — on video for the entire world to see — this pattern of injustices perpetrated against members of our Black communities. In response, the House took a major step in renewing the fight to achieve the promise of equal justice under the law for every American,” said Spanberger. “The reintroduction of this legislation provides another opportunity for Congress to help rebuild policing in a way that reduces discrimination, confronts a history marked by systemic racism, and engages with local law enforcement officials in a productive and meaningful way. Additionally, this bill would address the unacceptable trend of militarization that we’ve seen in local police departments across our country — and it would protect and increase funding for initiatives that strengthen community policing efforts in Central Virginia and across the country. Going forward, we need to keep pressing for legislation that can fix our system, save the lives of unarmed Black men and women, and fight the structural inequities rooted deep within our society.”

Specifically, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act includes provisions to:

  • Establish and invest in public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities improve public safety,
  • Prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling,
  • Mandate state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, and age,
  • 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), the Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

BACKGROUND

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. Click here to read more about her commitment to addressing systemic racism and racial injustice.

In June 2020, 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 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.

Earlier that month, Spanberger hosted a virtual telephone town hall with U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14), Virginia Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Dr. Janice Underwood, and VCU Massey Cancer Center Director Dr. Robert Winn to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impacts on minority communities in Central Virginia and across the country.

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