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AFP Announces Support for Series of Bills to Improve Policing Standards

Jun 18, 2020 by AFP

Arlington, Va. – Americans for Prosperity (AFP) today announced its support for the Justice Act, Reforming Qualified Immunity Act and the Count the Crimes to Cut Act of 2020, legislation that would improve policing standards.

Americans for Prosperity Board Member Mark Holden stated:

“We applaud Senator(s) Scott, Braun and Representative Roy for working quickly and diligently to take important steps towards critical reforms to our nation’s policing policies. Americans for Prosperity maintains that to improve policing standards legislation should transform police culture, remove structural barriers to good policing, and eliminate unnecessary criminalization so that law enforcement can focus resources on preventing and solving serious crime. The introduction of these three pieces of legislation will go a long way toward helping good police officers better protect the public while restoring trust between law enforcement and the communities that they serve. For too long, bad policies and some bad officers have damaged the relationship with the people police are sworn to protect. We encourage Congress to continue to act swiftly and enact reforms that will ensure equal justice for all.”

Background:

Justice Act – Senator Tim Scott

  • Requires state and local governments receiving certain federal funds to report all use of force events that cause serious injury or death or where there’s a firearm discharged to the FBI Use-of-Force Data Collection. This publicly available data would include incident information, subject information, and officer information.
  • Requires state and local governments receiving certain federal funding and federal law enforcement to report to the attorney general information on each no-knock warrant carried out and denies certain federal funding for law enforcement agencies (LEAs) that do not have an updated policy on chokeholds that only allows their use in situations when deadly force is authorized by law.
  • Creates a new crime of “false reporting” when a person knowingly and willfully falsifies a police report to cover-up a civil rights violation where death or serious bodily injury occurred.
  • Incentivizes transparency, proper training, and accountability by offering grants for clear body camera guidelines and programs and requires state or local governments to maintain a system for sharing disciplinary records and requiring their consideration when making hiring decisions.
  • Includes the creation of the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys to better understand the unique conditions black men and boys face in regards to education, health care, criminal justice, and financial inequities.
  • Requires the DOJ Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to develop curriculum and certification standards for training regarding use of force, de-escalation, and responding to behavioral health crises.
  • Requires the AG to develop training for local and state law enforcement regarding officers intervening when another officer engages in excessive use of force. Establishes the National Criminal Justice Commission to undergo a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system.
  • Addresses hiring disparities in law enforcement.
  • Rightly criminalizes federal law enforcement engaging in sexual acts with an individual who is under arrest, is detained or is in prison — while in the line of duty, while incentivizing states to do the same.

Reforming Qualified Immunity Act – Senator Mike Braun

  • Clarifies the current judicially created doctrine of “qualified immunity”.
  • This bill reforms certain defenses created by courts that have helped bad government actors go un-accountable while allowing immunity when their conduct was, at the time, authorized by law or the courts and they reasonably believed their conduct was in line with the Constitution or federal law.

Count the Crimes to Cut Act of 2020 – Representative Chip Roy

  • There are over 5,000 criminal federal laws in statute, and it is estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of regulatory offenses created by bureaucrats that carry a criminal penalty.
  • The Count the Crimes to Cut Act would require the AG and certain federal agencies to submit a report cataloguing all criminal laws in statute and in agency regulations along with information on potential penalties and what standard of intent (mens rea) is required.
  • By developing a repository of all criminal offenses, Congress can subsequently reduce government by removing or reforming laws and regulations that are unnecessary for public safety.
  • This bill is an important first step in reducing interactions between the community and police that can potentially have a tragic ending.

For further information or to set up an interview, please send an email to AMcEntee@afphq.org.

Through broad-based grassroots outreach, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is driving long-term solutions to the country’s biggest problems. AFP activists engage friends and neighbors on key issues and encourage them to take an active role in building a culture of mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping one another. AFP recruits and unites activists in 35 states behind a common goal of advancing policies that will help people improve their lives. For more information, visit www.AmericansForProsperity.org

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