Ohio Democrats get behind police reforms in the just-introduced 'Justice in Policing Act'

Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 19:31:59-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In the days after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police, Columbus area Congresswoman Joyce Beatty told News 5 that it wasn’t time to convene “a task force or a commission or another white paper. You know there's already a blue print, we have studied this to death and so I think that we just have to go into action to show that we are willing to make a change."

The change came this week in the form of the 134-page “Justice in Policing Act,” a sweeping set of reforms that would, among other things, ban chokeholds, create a national registry of police misconduct and make it easier to prosecute an officer. It would also end racial profiling and “no-knock” warrants.

House Democrats, along with the Congressional Black Caucus, put out a video highlighting the names of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown and so many others who, like George Floyd, died in police custody.

All four of Ohio’s House Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, as has U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.

Speaking on MSNBC, Beatty said “we must change the practices, the protocols in our police departments at the state, at the local, at every level and that’s our role in federal government. We’ve watched what's happened across America, this has been a long time coming,” Beatty said. “Today we're breathing for George Floyd."

Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a statement said “The Justice in Policing Act represents a critical step forward, one that responds to the call to action set by millions of Americans demanding comprehensive transformation of our law enforcement practices, culture, and institutions, which are plagued by systemic racism.

“I wholeheartedly support this legislation and the need for deep structural change to our nation’s policing and criminal justice system. I applaud the peaceful protestors who have made their voices heard in recent days. I will continue fighting for necessary changes, including community policing, demilitarizing police departments, and deconstructing a system that makes it near impossible to hold police accountable.”

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the reforms Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The state’s Republicans in Washington have been mostly quiet on the issue.

A spokesperson for Sen. Rob Portman tells News 5 “As Rob said on the Senate floor this week, we need to work together to find solutions that promote strong communities that treat each other with respect and dignity. He is encouraged by the discussion that is taking place. In order to make progress on these issues, we need to focus on building consensus on solutions that can garner bipartisan support.”