The House-passed Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is a solid first step toward real justice for Black Americans targeted by police brutality. Its provisions – including the banning of chokeholds and no-knock warrants, the creation of a national police misconduct database, and eliminating qualified immunity for law enforcement – are necessary and welcomed. Still, we must do more than simply change the way the law is enforced if we are truly invested in justice for Black Americans.
Laws at federal, state, and local levels continue to create the conditions for the criminalization of our Black sisters, brothers, and non-binary siblings. Disproportionate sentencing, disparities in “random” police stops, and the stigma of a conviction record preventing employment opportunities are all intimately tied to the scourge of police brutality and our racist criminal justice system, as well, but go unaddressed in this bill.
The entire system – not just the way individual police departments operate – is designed to work against some of the most vulnerable people in our society. We urge the Senate to pass the Justice in Policing Act, and call on all elected officials at all levels of government to continue to make attaining justice for Black Americans a priority in the coming months.