George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Dreasjon “Sean” Reed are just some of the latest victims of the nation’s long history of brutality against People of Color, and particularly Black men. As peaceful protests continue across the United States, we see an all-too-familiar anger, frustration, and pain. Changes to federal laws are vital to ensure that law enforcement training, use of force policies, and data collection address historic and systemic racial injustices.
We applaud the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280) in the House of Representatives on March 3, 2021. Now it is up to the Senate to act.
Urge your Senators to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Across the nation, police officers do vital and heroic work to keep communities safe. Yet systemic racism has created systems that have resulted in targeted policing and the disproportionate use of force against People of Color. Today, Black men and boys are 2.5 times more likely to die during a police encounter than their white counterparts. Individuals from minority communities are also more likely to be stopped by police and those stops are more likely to result in frisks, searches, and arrests than those involving white individuals.
In recent years, despite the numerous high-profile cases and horrific videos showing police brutality, Congress has failed to act. Currently, there is no federal ban on the use of racial or religious profiling by law enforcement, no national standard for police use of force, no statutory law on police use of lethal force in nine states and Washington, D.C., and still a lack of robust and accessible data on police-community encounters.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, is a first step in meaningful police reform legislation.This bill:
- Prohibits racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling by federal, state, and local law enforcement.
- Establishes a national use of force standard that requires law enforcement officers to employ de-escalation techniques and only use deadly force as a last resort.
- Deems maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain by law enforcement to be federal civil rights violations.
- Requires state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
Enacting these reforms will not only make our communities safer, but also begin the process of confronting racism in policing. During this time of mourning, Congress can take meaningful action to ensure that all people are protected equally under the law and protect communities of Color.
Join us in calling on the Senate to address systemic racial injustice and reform police practices.
As Jews, we are commanded, Tzedek, tzedek tirdof, "Justice, justice you shall pursue" (Deuteronomy 16:20). The sages explained that the word tzedek is repeated not only for emphasis but to teach us that in our pursuit of justice, our means must be as just as our ends.
We are also guided by the words of Leviticus (19:15), “You shall do no unrighteousness in judgement; you shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor favor the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” Justice must never be predicated on the color of one’s skin.
For More Information:
You can email your Members of Congress through our form above, or you can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 and ask to speak directly with their offices.