Congress Must Give Us Something More Than Empty Promises
Washington, D.C. – In response to Senate Republicans introducing their own police “reform” bill, the JUSTICE Act, Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), released the following statement:
“To call this bill a ‘police reform’ is disingenuous. What we have here are ‘reforms’ that are simply more studies, reports, and commissions that look good on paper, but do not actually hold law enforcement accountable for police misconduct. It waters down provisions contained in the Democratic Justice in Policing Act such as merely requiring that law enforcement report on the use of no-knock warrants, the kind that led to the death of Breonna Taylor in her bed – rather than outright banning them. And it does not outright prohibit chokeholds, like the ones that killed George Floyd or Eric Garner, as the Democratic bill does at the federal level. Instead, it just incentivizes states and localities to implement a ban through federal funding.
The bill fails to hold police accountable or counter the systemic racism and injustices that brought us to this moment all while dedicating billions of new dollars to law enforcement and problematic grant programs like COPS and Byrne JAG that fuel the drug war and militarized policing.
The time for studies and commissions on police reform has long passed: this moment requires action. We cannot continue to make the mistakes of the past and pass meaningless feel-good measures that do nothing but seek to minimize the outrage of the moment—while Black, Latinx and Native American communities continue to lose their lives and suffer through the trauma of living in a police state. We must dramatically rethink the way we view public safety and health, and that requires a sizable shift in how we invest our resources – away from police and back into communities. We call on Congress to turn their attention to improving the Justice in Policing Act.”