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Saturday, April 17, 2021

U.S. House of Representatives Pass Sweeping Police Reform Bill

The United States House of Representatives passed a  bill on March 3 that would ban controversial police tactics and change “qualified immunity” to bolster accountability among law enforcement.

With a vote of 220 to 212, lawmakers passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, named after the 46-year-old Black man who died nine months ago when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes, sparking nationwide and global protests against racial violence and police brutality.

Democratic Representative Karen Bass, who wrote the bill, said that it would hold police “accountable” when constitutional rights are violated.

“Never again should an unarmed individual be murdered or brutalized by someone who is supposed to serve and protect them. Never again should the world be subject to witnessing what we saw happen to George Floyd in the streets in Minnesota,” Bass said in a statement.

The bill bans chokeholds and “no-knock warrants” that allow police officers to enter premises without announcing themselves.

The bill also includes reforms on the so-called qualified immunity, which protects law enforcement from certain lawsuits, to make pursuing claims of misconduct against police officers in civil court easier.

The bill would also create a National Police Misconduct Registry, mandating law enforcement agencies to keep records of misconduct complaints and the use of deadly force broken out by race, disability, religion, gender, and age in an attempt to improve transparency.

The passing of the bill comes just days before former police officer Derek Chauvin goes on trial with the charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter for the killing of Floyd.

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