Rep. Omar Introduces Bold Package of Police Accountability Legislation
April 28, 2021
WASHINGTON—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) today introduced a package of bills to address continued police brutality and misuse of force, in the wake of the killing of Daunte Wright and the conviction of a former police officer in the murder of George Floyd—both in her Minnesota district. The package includes a legislation to create a new federal agency to investigate all nationwide deaths occurring in policy custody, officer-involved shootings and uses of force that result in severe injury, along with a bill making police violence against protesters a federal crime. It also includes a resolution affirming the connection between police brutality at home and state repression around the world.
“We are in the midst of national reckoning that recognizes our history of systemic racism and the need for systemwide reform,” Rep. Omar said. “This year the House once again passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act—a bold piece of legislation to end qualified immunity and place meaningful accountability on police violence. But it is clear that further measures are necessary prevent future killings and fully ensure that police are held accountable when they commit violence against civilians.
“History shows that the criminal justice system is not equipped to prosecute itself. Less than 2 percent of officers involved in fatal police shootings have faced arrest since 2005, and of those the majority were not convicted. We need a separate agency to investigate police use of force in an unbiased manner. The continued use of violence, projectiles and tear gas against nonviolent protesters underscores the need for legislation that imposes direct consequences for this violence. And lastly, we must see state brutality at home in the context of recent state violence around the world—whether in in Nigeria, Cameroon, Honduras, Chile, Hong Kong, Belarus, Poland, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. We must as a nation stand with the freedom of assembly and speech and against state violence. As Congress negotiates a broad criminal justice package, I hope these essential pillars of justice can be included in the final package.”
National Police Misuse of Force Investigation Board Act – This bill will establish a federal agency responsible for investigating all nationwide deaths occurring in police custody, officer-involved shootings and uses of force that result in severe bodily injury. The agency will conduct unbiased, independent investigations and issue determinations of responsibility and recommendations for reform that will prevent future violence. Those findings will be admissible in court and federal funding for law enforcement activities and equipment will be curtailed if a police department fails to take meaningful action on the Board’s policy and reform recommendations. You can read the bill here.
Bill to Criminalize Police Violence Against Protesters – This legislation will allow any officer who kills or causes bodily harm to a civilian during the response to a protest to be charged with a federal crime. We must ensure that the constitutional right to protest is duly protected, not threatened or stifled by law enforcement officers. You can read the bill here.
Global Police Brutality Resolution - The resolution calls on Congress to stand with peaceful protesters around the world in their calls for justice and accountability for police brutality.
Highly militarized police forces, often armed and trained by the United States, have also been used to disproportionately harm vulnerable communities around the world including in Nigeria, Cameroon, Honduras, Chile, Hong Kong, Belarus, Poland, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. You can read the bill here.