Local activists push for police reform

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SAN DIEGO – In the wake of the Derek Chauvin conviction, some local lawmakers and activists are calling on Congress to pass a police reform bill currently on hold in the U.S. Senate.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (H.R. 7120) is a bill that is proposing sweeping changes to oversight accountability and tactics currently used in the policing field.

“This federal law will challenge all local police departments to live up to their true standard, the one that we speak of on our police cars everyday, which is to protect and serve,” said Rev. Shane Harris, a civil rights activist.

The bill’s provisions include ending chokeholds and carotid holds, banning no-knock federal warrants in drug cases and ending police officer protections against civil lawsuits from the public for misconduct. It would also create a federal database of problematic officers who are fired. The database would be shared with every police station, alerting departments to those cops before they are hired again.

“We need to find the next Derek Chauvin and the next Derek Chauvin, so we don’t have another George Floyd, and we will also save every taxpayers’ money,” said Rev. Harris

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has already passed the House but has stalled in the Senate. It will need 60 votes to pass the Senate.

“Many of us, some more than others, breathed a huge sigh of relief when that verdict was read [Tuesday] but that sigh of relief is over and we need to keep working,” said Marlya Delano, a civil rights attorney. “The work needs to keep getting done and if our leaders want to show us that they’re serious about what they mean and what they say, then they will support this resolution.”

Congressional insiders say the biggest sticking point has been the concept of “qualified immunity,” which currently protects police officers from civil lawsuits.

President Biden says he is ready to sign the legislation immediately.   

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