David Morgan, Reuters, June 8, 2020
U.S. congressional Democrats unveiled sweeping legislation on Monday to combat police violence and racial injustice through transformative change, two weeks after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody led to nationwide protests.
The 134-page bill would take numerous steps including allowing victims of misconduct to sue police for damages, ban chokeholds and require the use of body cameras by federal law enforcement officers, restrict the use of lethal force, and facilitate independent investigations of police departments that show patterns of misconduct.
Democrats expect to bring the legislation to the House of Representatives floor by July 4.
While expecting resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate, Democrats hope to enlist the aid of public sentiment as protests against police brutality continue and polls show widespread public concern about police violence.
The legislation would not cut or abolish funding for police departments. Senior Democrats said calls for “defunding” the police from protesters and other activists, express a desire for more investment in communities. They promised that such issues would be addressed in subsequent legislation.
Among the legislation’s provisions, Democratic aides and analysts say allowing for civil suits against police could prove the most effective in curbing police brutality. But it is likely to face opposition from Republicans.