Will This Legislation Actually End Police Violence?

Members of congress kneeling in solidarity with protester
William Anderson
June 17, 2020

Draped in kente cloth, Democratic Party leadership - flanked by the Congressional Black Caucus - announced their unified response to protests after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Their presentation threw some people off, but gave others hope.

The Justice In Policing Act bans chokeholds (like what killed Eric Garner and George Floyd) and “no-knock” warrants in drug cases (like what killed Breonna Taylor), tracks use of force, and more. But some people are already feeling suspicious about this legislation.

As it currently stands, many of these reforms use what’s called “consent decrees” that already exist - but that officers frequently violate. In other words, federal oversight has never truly kept officers from doing as they please and killing us anyhow. 

That’s why some have suggested stronger solutions.

The 1994 Crime Bill still needs to be repealed for its role in mass incarceration, and bloated police budgets need to be defunded. The Justice In Policing Act gives MORE money to police. That’s not going to help! We can do better.

If we want to see a change in policing, we have to make sure we understand that policing will not be fixed through cosmetic reforms. The real change will come when we truly limit the power police have to kill us in the first place. Otherwise, we can expect more of the same.

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