WASHINGTON — Yesterday, the SPLC Action Fund submitted a statement to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee calling on senators to consider the minimum requirements needed to reform the policing system following the recent murders of Black people by police.
The statement follows recommendations by the SPLC Action Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and more than 450 civil rights organizations outlining the process of reforming our nation’s policing system. They include:
• Creating a federal standard that permits the use of force only when necessary and only after all other reasonable options have been exhausted;
• Banning the use of chokeholds; Demilitarizing law enforcement agencies;
• Ending “policing for profit” mechanisms, like the federal share program;
• Prohibiting no-knock warrants; Eliminating the judge-made doctrine of qualified-immunity, including a lower mens rea of “reckless negligence;”
• Creating a national registry of officers who have engaged in misconduct;
• Banning racial profiling.
“Nowhere is the legacy of entrenched, systemic racism more acute than in the Southern states where we live and work,” said SPLC Action Fund President and CEO Margaret Huang. “Our communities are demanding an end to this legacy of violence. Congress must heed the call to ensure safety, equality, and justice for all.”
On Tuesday, June 16th, the Senate Judiciary Committee held “Police Use of Force and Community Relations,” its first hearing on law enforcement since the death of George Floyd ignited massive civil protests across the country. The Senators in the Committee heard from various government witnesses and other experts, including Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, and Chief Art Acevedo, the chief of police for the city of Houston.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
The SPLC Action Fund is dedicated to fighting for racial justice alongside impacted communities in pursuit of equity and opportunity for all. We work primarily in the Southeast United States where we have offices in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C. The SPLC Action Fund seeks to promote policies and laws that will disrupt mass incarceration and eliminate the structural racism and inequalities that fuel over-policing, prosecution, imprisonment, and oppression of people of color, immigrants, young people, women, low-income people, and the LGBTQ+ community.
The SPLC Action Fund opposes any legislation, such as S. 3985, the deeply problematic and misnamed JUSTICE Act, which fails to address the systemic problems in our policing system that have permitted police officers to use violence and kill Black people with impunity. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote this morning on moving the Act to the Senate floor.