transformative legislation to reimagine the culture of policing in America with unprecedented reforms to curb police brutality, end racial profiling, eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement and build greater trust between law enforcement and our communities.
“Last summer, our state and the nation were rocked by a reckoning around the horrors of police brutality and racial injustice,” said Rep. Espaillat. “Sadly, despite countless Americans from every walk of life peacefully protesting and raising awareness for these crises, the epidemic of police brutality continues – with more police killings and police brutality occurring last year than in the year before, and with communities of color and vulnerable groups disproportionately bearing the brunt of this cruelty. To honor my responsibility to New Yorkers, families in my district and to the American people, I proudly joined the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and my colleagues to once again pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to deliver the urgent, critical reforms needed to increase transparency, hold police accountable, and address systemic and institutional racism.
“When law enforcement violates people’s rights of life and liberty, they must be held accountable. That is why I am glad to see a version of my bill from last year, the Excessive Force Prevention and Accountability Act, included as the first provision in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This provision lowers the mens rea requirement from ‘willfulness’ to ‘recklessness,’ making it easier to prosecutor offending officers for misconduct. I will continue fighting to ensure that police misconduct is never tolerated.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will take numerous key steps to achieve transformative, structural change to combat the pattern of police brutality and racial injustice, including:
- Banning all chokeholds;
- Banning no-knock warrants in drug cases;
- Ending racial, religious and discriminatory profiling;
- Eliminating the qualified immunity doctrine that is a barrier to holding police officers accountable for wrongful conduct;
- Establishing a National Police Misconduct Registry to improve transparency and prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability;
- Requiring data collection, including mandatory body cameras and dashboard cameras;
- Establishing new standards for policing and the Public Safety Innovation grants for community-based organizations to help reimagine policing in their communities; and more.
“I stand with my Democratic colleagues and countless New Yorkers to insist on the truth that Black Lives Matter as we turn this moment of agony into one of action, to honor George Floyd’s life and the lives of all killed by police brutality,” continued Rep. Espaillat. “I remain committed to working with the Biden-Harris Administration and the millions of Americans marching and demanding action. We will continue working to ensure the George Floyd Act Justice in Policing Act becomes law, and we will continue fighting to right the wrongs caused by centuries-old, structural racism. We must never stop our pursuit for justice.”
Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the north-west Bronx.
First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities.
He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice-Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip.
Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at https://espaillat.house.gov/.