WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) voted to pass the Justice in Policing Act, H.R. 7120, a bill that would make critical reforms to America’s law enforcement system in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, and a number of other deaths within communities of color by law enforcement personnel. Despite three Republicans supporting the legislation, the Senate will consider another bill drafted by GOP representatives.
The Justice in Policing Act provides critical reforms that address ongoing issues impacting law enforcement and communities of color with the aim of greater public safety. The bill would ban the use of chokeholds, mandate data collection on police encounters, ensure taxpayer dollars are spent on effective, community-based policing programs, and streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.
“In the past month, I’ve heard from so many of our neighbors about the need to make real reforms to our law enforcement system,” said Congressman Kim. “Speeches and protests shine a light on an issue that has been in the dark for too many for too long, but the real fight is making change; the Justice in Policing Act is the change we need for equality in justice for the Black community.”
Kim, himself, has joined peaceful demonstrations calling for justice for George Floyd, has held a virtual forum on discrimination and bias, and has met with Black community and youth leaders to hear their concerns and discuss solutions on police reform and other critical issues.
“This bill, even if signed into law, doesn’t solve hundreds of years of systemic inequality that have impacted the Black community throughout our country,” continued Kim. “Economic opportunity, housing, access to quality health care and education – all of these are places where our Black neighbors have had the deck stacked against them for too long. I hope today’s action is the first step of many to right these wrongs and uphold America’s original promise of equality and opportunity.”
This Sunday at 4:30pm, Congressman Kim will hold a telephone town hall to discuss issues impacting the Black community including policing reform and the economic impact of the Coronavirus crisis. Congressman Kim will be joined by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and the author of the Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act, which would ban the use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers.
Locally, Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain has addressed the use of force by police officers within the community. Germain shared policies regarding the Barnegat Police Department's use of force, as well as the limited number of incidents and types of force used. Barnegat police officers receive extensive training in de-escalation and crisis intervention to manage dangerous situations. Any use of force is investigated by the police department.