GOP reform bill to require disclosure on use of force, encourage chokehold bans
The GOP bill would create new reporting requirements on the use of deadly force by officers and reduce federal funding for state and local departments that fail to comply. In addition, the legislation requires that state and local governments with certain funding submit reports on no knock-warrants to the Justice Department. It would also limit eligibility for funding if a law enforcement agency does not have a policy that prohibits the use of chokeholds “except when deadly force is authorized.”
The measure also provides grants for the purchase of body cameras and development of policies and procedures related to their use. In addition, it increases penalties for false police reports and creates a Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys. That bipartisan measure would provide a report on conditions that affect African American men, such as education, health care and the criminal justice system. Another commission would review the criminal justice system entirely.
The GOP bill also makes lynching a federal crime. While the House passed a widely backed anti-lynching bill in February, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recently called for changes to the legislation to ensure that lynching charges don’t cover minor injuries. Paul’s objections resulted in a heated exchange on the Senate floor earlier this month with Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
In addition, the bill would include another bipartisan proposal that would make it a crime for a federal law enforcement official to engage in a sexual act with an individual in his or her custody or “while acting under color of law.”
The GOP bill comes after Democrats unveiled their own sweeping measure that would ban chokeholds, limit qualified immunity for police officers and stop no-knock warrants in federal drug cases.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declined to comment earlier Tuesday on the forthcoming bill, saying he had not yet seen its language.