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Rep. Lightbody, House Democrats reveal legislative plans for police reforms

Proposed bills prohibit profiling, the use of quotas, call for independent investigation of officer-involved shootings and creation of databases to better track problematic behavior
June 9, 2020
Mary Lightbody News

Ohio House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), are acting swiftly to respond to the thousands of concerned voices being raised in cities and towns throughout Ohio by announcing today their preliminary legislative plans to combat police brutality. The proposed bills would prohibit profiling, tear gas, and the use of quotas by all law enforcement agencies, as well as call for the independent investigation of officer-involved shootings and the creation of databases to better track problematic behavior and employment history of law enforcement officers.

“These legislative proposals contain necessary reform to address the institutional racism in our society and the trauma it continues to cause in our communities. We must acknowledge that Black Americans continue to face brutality, fear and injustice every day,” said Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville). “We must also create policies within our institutions, organizations, and businesses to dismantle systems that have a disproportionate impact on communities of color across Ohio and enact real structural and systemic change.”

House Democrats are currently considering the following bills to address police and civil justice reform:

  • A bill that would demilitarize the police by prohibiting Ohio police departments from benefitting from the federal 1099 program, which allows the DOD to offload excess and surplus military weapons & equipment to police departments at little to no cost;
  • A bill that would prohibit law enforcement agencies from profiling and requires annual racial or other biased-based police training;
  • A bill to prohibit the use of arrest or citation quotas by all law enforcement agencies;
  • A bill regarding de-escalation and mental health training;
  • A bill to require that all officer-involved shootings and other officer misconduct be independently investigated;
  • A bill to create a centralized excessive use of force database that would require all law enforcement agencies to report officer-involved shootings and injuries;
  • A bill that requires the Attorney General to maintain a database showing the employment history of police officers;
  • A bill to require police officers wear clearly visible and easily traceable identification at all times;
  • And a bill to prohibit the use of tear gas by law enforcement.

Additionally, House Democrats are calling on Congress to pass the Congressional Black Caucus’ Justice in Policing Act – the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the culture of law enforcement, empower our communities, and build trust between law enforcement and our communities by addressing systemic racism and bias to help save lives.

The Justice in Policing Act would, at the federal level:

1) Establish a national standard for the operation of police departments;

2) Mandate data collection on police encounters;

3) Reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs; and

4) Streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations.

It is supported by 166 U.S. Representatives and 35 U.S. Senators.