Democrats' proposed policing overhaul targets prosecution standards, data collection, training
By Lindsey McPherson for Roll Call
House and Senate Democrats on Monday proposed policing legislation that would revamp legal standards for prosecuting misconduct, create a national database of problem officers and improve training and practices to emphasize deescalation over use of force.
The 134-page measure, which Democrats are calling the Justice in Policing Act, is a package of several bills designed to curb police practices of racial profiling and unnecessary use of force that has led to the deaths of black Americans.
For the most part the legislation only directly overhauls federal law enforcement practices. It would encourage states and localities to adopt similar changes through grants and other incentives.
The bill updates statute for prosecuting police misconduct to make it easier to hold law enforcement officials to account.
The bill would also authorize a $100 million grant program for state state attorney generals to conduct pattern-or-practice investigations.
A separate provision authorizes a $750 million grant program for states to conduct independent investigations to prosecute incidents of law enforcement using unnecessary deadly force.
The bill would ban federal law enforcement from using chokeholds or carotid holds. The measure would also encourage states and localities to enact similar bans by withholding certain grant funding for police from jurisdictions that don't.
Data and training
A central element of the bill is the creation of the first government-run national database to track police misconduct.
The measure would mandate that state and local law enforcement agencies report all use of force data to federal government, including demographic data about who the force was used against.
The database would track problem law enforcement officers so that they can’t switch jurisdictions to avoid accountability.