June 08, 2020

Cardin, Bicameral Democrats Call for Nationwide Police Overhaul

“Accountability has been inextricably tied to public videos rather than doing the right thing. Incremental reform is no longer an option when it comes to police reform.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), an original cosponsor of the Justice in Policing Act and lead sponsor of the End Racial and Religious Profiling Act (S. 2355) and Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act (S. 3063), called on Republicans to join Democrats in finally passing comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation.

“Before they first put on a badge, police officers take an oath to uphold the law. Most do so with the best intentions and carry out their duties with a willingness to help their communities. But, in far too many communities across the country, the system in which they work has been failing. People are dying at the hands of police, predominantly people of color. Accountability has been inextricably tied to public videos rather than doing the right thing. Incremental reform is no longer an option when it comes to police reform. We have been patient, but we must do better to protect the civil rights, human rights and the lives of men, women and children in this country. Congress must finally pass a comprehensive plan to improve training and community relations, hold police accountable and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

“To that end, I have been proud to work with my colleagues Senator Cory Booker and Senator Kamala Harris on creating a package of police reforms that shows where we need to be as a nation with a fair and just system of laws. The package focuses on three major pillars: accountability, data collection, and training and policies. I was proud that two major pieces included in the Justice in Policing Act are from bills that I have introduced for many Congresses: The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act (S. 2355) and the Law Enforcement Trust and Accountability Act (S. 3063).

“The End Racial and Religious Profiling Act is designed to enforce the constitutional right to equal protection under the law by eliminating racial and religious-based discriminatory profiling at all levels of law enforcement by changing the policies and procedures. It allows police to focus their work more accurately rather than wasting resources on blanket stereotypes.

“The Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act takes a comprehensive approach at how local police organizations can adopt performance-based standards to ensure that instances of misconduct will be minimized through training and oversight. The bill provides that if such incidents do occur that they be properly investigated. 

“I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to focus on our common humanity and respect for the rule of law. There are examples of best practices in community policing that should be a guide nationwide. Let us work together to ‘guarantee equal justice under law’ and fulfill the promise of our Constitution ‘in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice and insure domestic tranquility.’”

A summary of the Justice in Policing Act can be found here.

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