Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives will consider H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This legislation is the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement and build trust between law enforcement and our communities. As Congress prepares to move forward on policing reform, public support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act continues to grow. New endorsements for the bill include leading corporations, law enforcement, major city mayors such as the Mayor of Houston and the Mayor of Los Angeles and celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Mary J. Blige, Lizzo, Meek Mill, Kelly Rowland, Justin Bieber, Miguel, Billie Eilish, Alyssa Milano and Ariana Grande, among others. Leading civil rights and social justice groups such as the NAACP, National Action Network, Urban League and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights were early supporters of the bill. The legislation has 231 cosponsors in the House and 36 cosponsors in the Senate.
Here’s what some stakeholders are saying. The full list of supporters can be found here.
Joint Letter from more than 750 musicians, entertainers and music companies: “We in the music and entertainment communities believe that Black lives matter and have long decried the injustices endured by generations of Black citizens. We are more determined than ever to push for federal, state, and local law enforcement programs that truly serve their communities. Accordingly, we are grateful for movement of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 in the U.S. House of Representatives and urge its quick passage. The Justice in Policing Act is not about marginal change; it takes bold steps that will make a real, positive difference for law enforcement and the communities they serve.”
AFL-CIO:“Union members live and work in every state and every community, so when police brutality occurs, it happens in our backyards and to our families. We also represent tens of thousands of law enforcement officers who go to work every day and risk their lives to protect the public. As such, we believe we have a special responsibility to play a leading role in making sure this time is different. Whether it’s banning chokeholds, expanding use of body cameras, ending racial profiling, demilitarizing our police forces, or ending no-knock warrants, the Justice in Policing Act has the potential to create a fairer, more equitable justice system.”
NAACP: “We also need to address issues that have plagued our communities for centuries, including income inequality, health care disparities, and environmental injustice to name a few. But we need to start somewhere, and the enactment of H.R. 7120, the Justice in Policing Act is an aggressive, inspired, and necessary step we as a nation need to take…In the names of George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Michel Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Rodney King and the thousands as of others who have suffered and died at the hands of police brutality, well as in the name of basic morality, please support H.R. 7120, the Justice in Policing Act. The NAACP strongly supports this inspired, much-needed legislation as an important first step.”
Joint Statement from Key Civil Rights Groups: NAACP; National Urban League; National Action Network; National Coalition on Black Civic Participation & Black Women's Roundtable; Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.: “We support Congress taking an important step toward police accountability by introducing the Justice in Policing Act. In the aftermath of the recent police killings of Black people, we sent Congress a strong police accountability framework that is reflected in this legislation. The bill takes on critical issues such as redefining police misconduct, establishing a national use of force standard, increasing the U.S. Department of Justice's authority to prosecute misconduct by law enforcement officers, and more. This legislation makes clear that police brutality, misconduct, harassment, and killing have no place in America. Many provisions in the bill reflect the insights of national and local civil rights organizations that have worked for years on these issues. As the bill advances toward passage, we will continue to work to improve it to ensure that real and meaningful change is achieved. We express appreciation to Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Bass, Chairman Nadler, and Senators Booker and Harris, for their leadership to quickly and substantively meet this moment and address this pressing issue. If Congress truly represents the will of the people, they must take action swiftly to ensure equality and justice for all.”
Joint Statement from Mayors throughout the country: Sylvester Turner (Houston, TX); Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles, CA); Jacob Frey (Minneapolis, MN); Jenny A. Durkan (Seattle, WA); Ron Nirenberg (San Antonio, TX); London Breed (San Francisco, CA); Michael B. Hancock (Denver, CO); Steve Adler (Austin, TX); Libby Schaff (Oakland, CA); Ted Wheeler (Portland, OR); Victoria Woodards (Tacoma, WA); Satya Rhodes-Conway (Madison, WI); Regina Romero (Tucson, AZ); John Cooper (Nashville, TN); and Rusty Bailey (Riverside, CA): “As the mayors of America’s cities we write to you in strong support of The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (H.R. 7120/S. 3912). In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many other innocent lives lost, we commit to bringing our voices to Washington and join Congress in pursuit of the changes America needs to end the pattern of brutality and discrimination.”
The National African American Clergy Network (NAACN): “The National African American Clergy Network supports the Justice in Policing Bill. It affirms sacred scripture that everyone is created in the image of God and deserves to be protected by police sworn to value and safeguard all lives. Failure by police to uphold this sacred trust with Black Americans lives, requires systemic changes in policing nationwide.”
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: “It's time to close the chapter on a dark era of unchecked police violence in our country that has wreaked havoc on African American families across the country. The Justice in Policing Act is historic and long overdue legislation that will put our country on a path to reform. This Act is responsive to many of the urgent demands being pressed for by our communities and by the people protesting for racial justice and equity across our nation. The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law commends the Congressional Black Caucus for their leadership on policing reform and this critical legislation, including Chair Karen Bass, Senator Cory Booker and Senator Kamala Harris.”
Center for American Progress: “The Justice in Policing Act is a critical step forward toward reform at the federal and local levels. The bill includes many important provisions, including grants to states to bring “pattern or practice” cases, conditioning federal dollars on changes to policing techniques such as ending the use of chokeholds, and prohibiting law enforcement from recklessly depriving Americans of their constitutional rights.”
United Negro College Fund (UNCF): “UNCF is serious about improving the condition of African Americans, the purpose of its founding. As the nation’s largest and most eective minority education organization, UNCF is as committed to that mission as it has always been. Subsequently, UNCF fully endorses the “Justice in Policing Act of 2020.” There has never been a time for systemic racism; but today is the day that UNCF roots out and seeks to eradicate the scourge of discrimination, like many others who have marched and protested recently.”
American Association for Justice: “People in the United States of America, particularly those who are Black, have been dealing with police brutality for far too long. Members of the American Association of Justice (AAJ) represent many of the families directly impacted by police violence and as such, AAJ supports H.R. 7120, the Justice in Policing Act (JPA), as a key first step towards implementing long-overdue reforms.”
Black Millennial Convention: “The brutal actions of police in George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, along with botched execution of a no-knock warrant that killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and the brazen vigilante execution of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia, have pushed the nation to the tipping point. For the past four-plus centuries, Black people have continuously been made to endure unfair, unjust, and inhumane treatment in this country. We have been made to believe in that if we worked hard, never complained, and accepted what the world offered that would be enough. What the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others have taught us is that obedience will never be enough; liberty and justice for all applies to everyone but us; and by us, we mean Black Americans, African Americans, Afro-Americans, or plainly put, Black people.”
National Partnership for Women and Families: “Women and families have a right to thrive in a safe and healthy environment, free from violence and discrimination. This means policymakers must address police brutality and the criminalization of Black people. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is a step toward ensuring that police officers and departments are de-militarized and accountable for their actions. We applaud Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Chairs Karen Bass and Jerry Nadler for leading on these important issues, yet we understand the root problems of white supremacy, systemic racism and white complicity led to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many more. We can and should reform policing at the same time we work to dismantle a system that has devalued Black lives and has criminalized instead of investing in Black communities for centuries.”
Brady: “Brady joins countless others across the country who are stating that police violence is gun violence, and as Americans take to the street, from coast to coast, Brady also joins the call for law enforcement reform, systemic change, and racial justice. We strongly urge Members of Congress to support H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a comprehensive bill that reforms policing and use of force, mandates transparency, and facilitates accountability.”
Third Way: “Deeply ingrained systemic racism and bad public policy have led to countless police-involved killings of African Americans and other people of color in this country. After the murder of George Floyd, this persistent injustice has driven people onto the streets of almost every American city in pain and anger, demanding change. Big, real, impactful change. They must not be made to wait any longer. That’s why it is so important that Members of Congress have introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. We need a complete reimagining of policing in America to ensure every person in our country feels safe and protected by the law enforcement in their community. The Justice in Policing Act can begin that process at the federal level, while communities bravely push for the necessary changes at the state and local levels. The task ahead is large, and change will require that the public, and all of us, keep up the pressure on elected officials to be brave and principled. This moment demands progress, and this bill is an important step forward. Congress should act to pass it right away. We cannot ask people of color in this country to wait, and endure more killings, before they see reforms."
Full text of the legislation is availablehere.
A fact sheet on the George FloydJustice in Policing Act of 2020is available here.