Pelosi, top Democrats unveil police reform bill

Pelosi, top Democrats unveil police reform bill

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Monday unveiled far-reaching legislation to overhaul policing in the U.S.

The bill, dubbed the “Justice in Policing Act,” would ban chokeholds, including the kind used by a police officer in the Minneapolis death of George Floyd last month, as well as no-knock warrants in drug cases, as was used in the incident leading to the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, in March, according to a bill summary obtained by NBC News and a House Democratic aide.

The legislation would also require local police departments to send data on the use of force to the federal government and create a grant program that would allow state attorneys general to create an independent process to investigate misconduct or excessive use of force, according to the five-page summary of the bill. Further, the bill would make it easier for people to recover damages when police departments violate their civil rights.

"The martyrdom of George Floyd gave the American experience a moment of national anguish as we grieve for the black Americans killed by police brutality today," Pelosi said. "This moment of national anguish is being transformed into a movement of national action as Americans from across the country peacefully protest to demand an end to injustice. Today, with the justice and policing at the Congress is standing with those fighting for justice and taking action."

The measure comes in the wake of massive protests that have swept across the nation over the last two weeks since Floyd’s death in Minnesota. While some activists have been calling for the defunding of police departments, the bill doesn’t shrink police budgets. The legislation also would not provide new funding to police departments to implement the proposed reforms, according to a Senate Democratic aide.

A training program would be created under the bill that would cover racial bias and duty to intervene, and the measure would require that police officers use deadly force only as a last resort and use de-escalation techniques. The measure would also create a federal registry for misconduct complaints and disciplinary actions against police officers.

Under the bill, federal uniformed police officers would be required to wear body cameras and marked federal police vehicles would be required to have dashboard cameras. The legislation would also limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local police departments.

The bill was crafted by Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen Bass, D-Calif., House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. Harris is considered a possible vice presidential pick for Joe Biden, now the 2020 presumptive Democratic nominee.