The legislation – led by the black caucus of Congress and Democrats on the Judicial Committee of the House and Democrats Senator Kamala Harris from California and Corey Booker from New Jersey – comes as the country reeling in recent deaths of many black Americans in the hands of the police, including George Floyd, who died In Minneapolis last month after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
“The world is witnessing the birth of a new movement in our country,” Karen Pace, chair of the Black Congress, told a news conference on Monday, as Democrats formally unveiled the legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress “cannot accept anything less than transformational structural change.” But the proposal, which had not yet had any Republican sponsors, would need bipartisan support to make it through the Senate.
The legislation is the most expanded effort in recent years to crack down on federalism over police practices across the United States, but is expected to face strong resistance from Republicans, police unions, and local officials who do not want Washington to interfere in their industry policy.
“This is a strong movement and it has made legislation like this one, maybe it would have been impossible to do it a month ago,” Booker told CNN in an interview on Sunday.
According to a brief document obtained by CNN, the legislation includes a ban on places of suffocation, as well as the creation of a national registry of police misconduct “to prevent problem officers from changing judicial powers to avoid accountability”.
The bill also stimulates states and localities to authorize training in racial bias and to teach officers “their duty to intervene.” The bill places certain restrictions on the transportation of military equipment to local and state law enforcement authorities and requires federal regular police offers to wear body cameras.
Booker said: “It was unfortunate that he did that that day. It was unnecessary and quite frankly very painful for many people.”
The legislative effort comes with protests against police brutality and support for ethnic justice across the country in both large cities and rural communities. Over the weekend, thousands of protesters gathered in Washington, DC, at the National Mall. Rallies, sit-ins and protests made news from the Montana countryside to the streets of Portland, Maine.
Pelosi did not immediately respond when asked on Monday whether she was supporting local moves to delay the police.
“The truth is that we have a lot of legislation falling into a spear that addresses some of the concerns of our societies across the country,” Pelosi said. She suggested that people “conduct these discussions at the local level.”
“This is a local decision, but this does not mean that we will raise more money to increase the militarization of the police,” she said.
Republicans have yet to mention the embrace of the Democratic Police Act, which was unveiled on Monday. While Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, President of South Carolina, Chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee, announced last week that he would hold a hearing on police brutality on June 16, many Republicans in the Senate argued that Congress should not establish nationalized police policies and that instead From this, states and localities should take their own measures.
“This is a kind of classic Washington. You have a lonely and tragic event, and people settle on it and suggest that this problem is epidemic. I think what happened to Mr. Floyd was as terrible as he and his family deserve justice. Republican Senator John Cornen of Texas said,” You cannot paint as This wide brush condemns law enforcement and says this is a systemic failure. ”“ The idea that the sudden Congress needs to suspend the public health crisis, which, incidentally, will not remain suspended… to deal with this, I think, is hysteria. ”
Republican Senator Roy Blount of Missouri said he did not believe it was possible to reach a nationalized legislative response to the police.
He told CNN last week: “I don’t think you can reach a nationally actionable response to behavior or practice, and I don’t think you can really develop a national logical guide for departments.”
Jeffreys rejected the Republicans’ view that Congress should sit on the sidelines.
“Some of my colleagues on the other side of the corridor, on the other side of the Capitol, want to continue burying their heads in the sand,” said Jeffreys.
“Regarding the police officers I deal with here in New York City, the vast majority of them are good individuals who work hard and are in the community for protection and service, but we cannot deny that we have many brutal officers. … We have to address this phenomenon. That is why it came out Many Americans take to the streets all over the country. “
House Speaker Judge Jerry Nadler has said he wants a vote on the committee next week.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on Monday that Senate Democrats “will fight like hell to make this a reality” and pass the Senate Police Reform Act, appealing directly to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“We must collectively, all Americans, raise our voices and call on Commander McConnell to put this reform bill on the floor of the Senate before July for discussion and vote on it,” he added, “Commander McConnell, let’s have a discussion, not just on TV and on Twitter, but On the floor of the United States Senate. “
Foran and Haley Byrd from CNN contributed to this report.