Derek Chauvin has been convicted of the murder of George Floyd, but now there’s a new call to action: the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
The law, written by California MP Karen Bass, has already been passed by the US House of Representatives. It just takes a debate and a vote in the US Senate.
According to the legislation’s fact sheet, the bill would “save lives by banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants” and “use lethal force only as a last resort”.
Following the verdict, many family members, leaders and activists of Floyd and President Joe Biden said it was time to move this legislation forward. Proponents of the law say it would improve law enforcement accountability and work to eradicate racial prejudice in policing.
“We cannot stop here,” said President Biden on Tuesday, noting that “in order to bring about real change and reform, we can and must do more to reduce the likelihood that such tragedies will ever recur or recur.”
Here’s what the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would do:
- Prohibit chokeholds. While many law enforcement agencies say they don’t train their officers to use chokeholds, they are still used. The legal standard for the use of chokeholds is vague, making it difficult to prosecute officials who abuse this use of force
- Prohibition of no-knock warrants. The no-knock warrant allows officers to break into homes without warning.
- Create an obligation to intervene. When police officers see another officer with excessive violence, witnesses must intervene.
- Create a public registry. The law establishes a national register of police misconduct that is accessible to the public. This would deter officials from evading the consequences for their actions by moving to another jurisdiction.
- End Qualified Immunity: Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that protects government officials from being personally liable for violations – for example, when the police use excessive force. The termination of a qualified immunity would mean that a police officer would be held accountable for breaking the law
Democrats now control the Senate, which has a 50:50 partisan split with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as a tie breaker. But most of the laws in this chamber still require 60 votes to beat a filibuster, and it’s not clear there would be enough Republican support to get the Senate laws across the finish line.