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LatinoJustice PRLDEF Statement on the Failure to Advance the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 23, 2021

Contacts:
Sarai Bejarano Manager of Traditional & Digital Media 212.739.7581 [email protected] 
 

LatinoJustice PRLDEF Statement on the Failure to Advance the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

NEW YORK, NY- Yesterday, NJ Senator Cory Booker announced that talks had broken down in the senate to create a compromise version of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that was passed by the House this spring.

LatinoJustice issued the following statement on the failure of the JPA to proceed.

“The murder of George Floyd last year served as a catalyst to teach many in America something activists have known for decades: across the country, police use deadly force disproportionately against Black and Latinx people. According to a report by UnidosUS released earlier this year, more than two thousand Latinx people have been killed by police since 2014. In April of 2020, just a month before George Floyd was murdered, Officer Christopher Taylor shot and killed Mike Ramos—body camera evidence shows that Ramos was unarmed and posed no danger to the officers when he was killed. During last summers’ protests Latinx demonstrators joined Black protesters across the nation demanding that something be done about the nation’s epidemic of police abuse.

The reforms proposed in the House version of the JPA were already modest and should not have been watered down in an attempt to appease bad-faith actors. It would have barred police from using chokeholds like the one that killed George Floyd, Eric Garner, and Anthony Baez in 1994. It would have prohibited the use of no-knock search warrants, like the one that led to the murder of Breonna Taylor; limited the use of military equipment by local law enforcement; required departments to equip officers with body cameras; and created a nationwide registry of officers found to break the law, so that officers could not leave one department in disgrace only to join another with a clean slate. Most significantly, it would have ended qualified immunity—a judicially-created doctrine that protects officers even when a court finds that they violated a person’s constitutional rights unless the victim can find a nearly identical case on point.

The initially proposed reforms did not go nearly far enough to curb police violence against Black and Brown communities, and yet Senator Tim Scott strung congressional colleagues along for months, disingenuously promising support for compromised reform efforts. As recently as April, he suggested he would support a modification to the repeal of qualified immunity. Yesterday’s news proves that Scott was negotiating in bad faith. According to reports, the version of the bill that Scott rejected yesterday completely eliminated the repeal of qualified immunity, the bar on no-knock warrants, and the criminalization of excessive force – all unacceptable compromises. Scott even rejected portions of the proposal—such as creating national standards for officer conduct—that were part of a Donald Trump executive order. Senator Scott’s bait-and-switch reaffirms that the Republican Party is not interested in limiting police violence against Black and Latinx people and proves, once again, that toothless reforms in an attempt to appease partisan forces merely delay true justice for our communities.

LatinoJustice will continue to litigate and advocate for accountability in policing, but only as a step toward reimagining the role police officers and police departments play in maintaining a just and safe society for all. We start by refusing to compromise on the goal to end this country’s addiction to police violence.”

 

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About LatinoJustice
LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education. For nearly 50 years, LatinoJustice PRLDEF has acted as an advocate against injustices throughout the country. To learn more about LatinoJustice, visit www.LatinoJustice.org