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Bonamici and Congressional Leaders Introduce Legislation to Transform Policing

June 8, 2020
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC [06/08/2020] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) joined 166 representatives and 35 senators to introduce the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, comprehensive bicameral legislation to transform police practices and end racial injustices by law enforcement. 



“People in Oregon and around the country are marching in the streets and demanding change to a law enforcement culture that has led to the inhumane treatment and deaths of Black people and people of color,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “George Floyd and Breonna Taylor should still be alive today. Tragically, they and countless other Black, indigenous, and people of color have died or have been mistreated because of police actions. This must stop now. 



“I’m joining my colleagues in introducing the Justice in Policing Act to make comprehensive and meaningful changes that hold police accountable, increase transparency in policing, and improve training and practices – including banning no-knock warrants and chokeholds. This legislation is an important first step, but there is much more we must do to right the wrongs perpetrated against our Black community for centuries. Black lives matter, and I will continue to fight for equitable education, healthcare, and housing policies that support Black people, indigenous people, and communities of color.”



The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would: 

·       Make it easier to hold law enforcement officers responsible for police misconduct by changing the intent requirement from “willfulness” to “recklessness” 

·       Reform qualified immunity so individuals can recover damages in court when police violate their constitutional rights

·       Improve existing pattern and practice investigations by the DOJ, and incentivize state Attorneys General to conduct investigation

·       Incentivize states to create independent investigative structures for police-involved deaths

·       Create best practice recommendations based on President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force

·       Create a National Police Misconduct Registry to enhance accountability

·       Require state and local law enforcement agencies report use of force data disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, and age

·       End racial and religious profiling and mandate training on racial bias

·       Ban no-knock warrants in drug cases

·       Ban chokeholds and carotid holds

·       Limit use of force to only when necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury

·       Limit transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement

·       Require federal, state, and local law enforcement to use body cameras 

·       Make lynching a federal crime


A complete section-by-section of the bill can be found here. 



The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 was introduced simultaneously in the House and Senate, led by Chair Karen Bass, Senator Cory A. Booker, Senator Kamala D. Harris, and Chair Jerrold Nadler.  It has the support of a broad coalition of civil rights organizations, including Demand Progress, Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Action Network, National African American Clergy Network, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), Black Millennial Convention, and the National Urban League.


Bonamici has repeatedly spoken out about the unjust killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Black Americans, and other people of color. As a supporter of peaceful protest, she joined the Beaverton Black Parent Union for a Black Family Unity Walk and students at Sunset High School for a march for Black lives. She was also an early co-sponsor of the House resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling, and the excessive use of force against Black Americans.