The US House of Representatives on Thursday approved the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to address policing issues and law enforcement accountability. The bill passed by a vote of 236-181, mainly along party lines.
The bill lays out a number of reforms. Among other things, the bill
- lowers the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution,
- limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer or state correctional officer, and
- authorizes the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas in investigations of police departments for a pattern or practice of discrimination.”
The bill also creates the National Police Misconduct Registry to gather data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It establishes a framework to prohibit racial profiling at all government levels. In addition, it would require agencies to report data on use-of-force incidents, give officers training on implicit bias and racial profiling and require officers to wear body cameras.
The bill still needs to pass in the Republican-majority Senate. This bill comes a day after another bill introduced in the Senate failed, after being described by Democratic opposition as too weak.