June 11, 2020

Rep. Mike Levin Cosponsors Legislation to Make Meaningful Reforms to our Criminal Justice System

San Juan Capistrano, CA – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Levin (D-CA) announced he will cosponsor the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, comprehensive legislation to reform law enforcement, improve policing and community safety, and hold bad actors accountable. The bill was introduced this week by Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Karen Bass (D-CA), Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

“I stand with millions of Americans across the country demanding accountability and comprehensive reform to a system that has allowed police brutality and injustice against people of color for generations,” said Rep. Levin. “As I said following the murder of George Floyd, only real reform will allow us to begin healing. For far too long we have failed to act, but the Justice in Policing Act will help bring about the long overdue change we need. I’ve had productive conversations with local civil rights leaders, law enforcement, and many others in recent days and I’m proud to join my colleagues in cosponsoring the Justice in Policing Act. I hope it is just one of many steps we will take towards a more just system and to ensure George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others are not forgotten.”

Background from Chair Bass, Chair Nadler, and Senators Booker and Harris on the Justice in Policing Act of 2020:

  • Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
  • Bans chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
  • Mandates the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal offices and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
  • Establishes a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave on agency from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
  • Amends federal criminal statute from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard to successfully identify and prosecute police misconduct.
  • Reforms qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights.
  • Establishes public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches.
  • Creates law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices and requires the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing.
  • Requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
  • Improves the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
  • Establishes a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.

Full text of the legislation is available here. A section-by-section summary of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is available here. A fact sheet on the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is available here.

Rep. Levin is also a cosponsor of the Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), to amend civil rights law to prohibit the use of chokeholds by law enforcement across the nation.