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Virginia’s U.S. House Members Respond to Passage of “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act”

"Serious legislation that combats the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality"

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See below for statements by Virginia’s Congressional delegation on House passage last night of the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” – “a step towards justice and accountability”; “serious legislation that combats the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality”; “transform[ing] a status quo that has stolen the lives of countless spouses, siblings, parents, and friends”; “a comprehensive plan to ensure public safety for all Americans”; etc.

McEachin Statement on House Passage of the George Floyd
Justice in Policing Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) issued the following statement regarding the House passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act:

“People across our country – in fact, people around the world – are protesting in the streets because they believe in a better America — an America where equal justice under the law is more than an empty platitude. They deserve for their Congress to rise to meet this moment in our nation’s history — to make clear once and for all that no one should be above the law because they wear a badge.

That is why I am proud to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act today. Too many lives have been taken and too many communities have been devastated by police brutality and racial profiling in our country for us to wait any longer. Real action is long overdue.

We know this crisis is not new, but this moment has to be different. Our communities are tired of watching as black bodies are ground up and spit out with no accountability from our justice system. We are tired of the endless hashtags, and of shouldering the compounding weight of our collective grief, pain, and rage.

The families of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd deserve better and unlike the Senate Republicans’ proposal, the American people deserve serious legislation that combats the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality – they deserve a bill that contains meaningful and mandatory measures to end misconduct.

I urge the Senate to join us in hearing the loud, unyielding call for justice and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We cannot go back to business as usual until America shows – with action – that black lives matter.

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House Passes George Floyd Justice In Policing Act
Police reform bill contains Beyer-authored body camera legislation

June 25, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Don Beyer today hailed the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by the House of Representatives. The bill, which passed this evening with bipartisan support, represents the most ambitious federal reform of law enforcement powers in decades.

“The George Floyd Justice In Policing Act is a step towards justice and accountability. We cannot bring George Floyd or Breonna Taylor or Eric Garner or Tamir Rice back, but we owe it to them and the many others who should not have died to try to stop it from happening again,” said Beyer. “All lives will not matter until Black lives matter. I thank the Congressional Black Caucus for their leadership drafting strong, ambitious legislation that our country needs right now.”

The bill included legislation Beyer drafted with D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton to require uniformed federal officers to wear body cameras and use mounted dashboard cameras in marked vehicles. That legislation was inspired by the still-unexplained killing of 25-year-old Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police in Beyer’s legislation. It also featured a measure that would accomplish many of the aims of Beyer’s recently-released legislation banning the use of facial recognition technology with body-worn cameras.

The George Floyd Justice In Policing Act would make bold, unprecedented reforms to curb police brutality and racial profiling, address systemic racism, and increase transparency for law enforcement, including:

  • A ban on police chokeholds;
  • Banning no-knock warrants;
  • An end to the qualified immunity doctrine that is a barrier to holding police officers accountable for wrongful conduct;
  • A mandate for data collection, including body cameras and dashboard cameras; and
  • Establishes new standards for policing.

Full text of the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act is available here.

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Wexton Votes to Pass Bipartisan George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Washington, DC — Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) voted for the bipartisan George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, historic and sweeping legislation to reform policing in America, that passed the House of Representatives this evening.

“Americans — led mostly by young people — in all 50 states and every part of my district have taken to the streets to demand change,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is an answer to their once-in-a-generation call to action. This bill would bring real oversight, accountability, and transparency to excessive and discriminatory policing practices that have disproportionately affected Black Americans. I know that our work doesn’t end here — I’m hopeful that the energy behind this historic moment will sustain itself as a lasting movement for racial justice in all aspects of our society.”

As demonstrations against excessive policing practices and racial injustice continue in Virginia and across the country following the horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, this legislation would implement real changes in policing at the federal level.

Specifically, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would:

  • Establish a national database of police misconduct;
  • Mandate data collection on police use of force;
  • Ban the use of chokeholds;
  • Ban no-knock warrants in drug cases;
  • Prohibit law enforcement from racial and other discriminatory profiling;
  • Implement a national standard for law enforcement accreditation;
  • Reprogram existing funds to reinvest in community policing;
  • Limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local police;
  • Mandate body and dashboard cameras for federal police;
  • Create a training program to cover racial bias, implicit bias, procedural justice, and the duty to intervene; and
  • Reform the qualified immunity doctrine that is a barrier to holding police accountable for misconduct.

Congresswoman Wexton has joined several peaceful protests across Virginia’s 10th District, held a roundtable with local NAACP presidents, hosted a virtual community conversation on racial injustice earlier this month, and has met with local law enforcement leadership from every part of her district.

Prior to holding elected office, Wexton served as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Loudoun County, a court-appointed attorney and a special justice in mental health commitment hearings, and a Substitute Judge in Loudoun’s district courts.

The full text of the bill can be found here. A summary of the bill can be found here.

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And now Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA01)…basically what you’d expect.