Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) voted for the Justice in Policing Act which passed the House of Representatives of 236-181.  This comprehensive legislative package would drastically reform policing, hold bad actors accountable, and help mend the relationship between law enforcement agencies and local communities. It sends a clear message that Black lives matter, are important, and must be protected.

“The House of Representatives has done its job today and acted on behalf of the people,” said Himes.  “The Justice in Policing Act will bring reforms to police departments across the country, increasing accountability and showing a commitment to change and improvement.”

The Justice in Policing Act will:

  • Make lynching a federal crime
  • Limit and regulate the federal transfer of military weapons and equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies
  • Increase accountability by:
    • Making it easier to prosecute police misconduct;
    • Reforming qualified immunity so that victims can recover damages when police violate their constitutional rights;
    • Providing grants to states that adopt laws that mandate external and independent criminal investigations and prosecutions in cases of police misconduct; 
    • Granting subpoena authority to the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to investigate law enforcement agencies with a “pattern or practice” of violating constitutional rights and incentivizing states to adopt similar investigations.
  • Promote best practices and improve officer training by:
    • Outlawing racial, religious and discriminatory profiling;
    • Requiring training on racial and implicit biases, procedural justice, and the duty to intervene;
    • Banning no-knock warrants in drug cases;
    • Prohibiting the use of chokeholds and carotid holds;
    • Raising the standards for when force can be used and requiring that all reasonable alternatives, including de-escalation techniques, are used before deadly force;
    • Mandating the use of dashboard and body cameras.
  • Improve our understanding of police misconduct and use-of-force by:  
    • Requiring states to submit disciplinary, termination, and legal records against law enforcement officers to a National Police Misconduct Registry;
    • Mandating that state and local law enforcement agencies report comprehensive use of force data to the federal government, including information about the victim and officer involved, the circumstance surrounding the incident, the reason force was used, etc.

“It’s been a month since George Floyd was cruelly murdered under the knee of a police officer,” continued Himes. “Floyd’s murder was not an isolated incident, but another tragic event in a long history of police brutality towards Black Americans. As I’ve joined protesters marching in Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Fairfield, and other communities in Southwest Connecticut, the message is loud and clear – we need systemic change, not more lip service or placating promises. The Justice in Policing Act delivers that change.”

If you have questions or comments, please contact Patrick Malone at Patrick.malone@mail.house.gov or (202)225-5541.