A Poisonous Police-Reform Bill

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, speaks during a press event ahead of vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on Capitol Hill, June 25, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is a misnomer. If passed into law, it wouldn’t advance justice or any other reasonable goal.


Consider, for starters, its declaration that any indication that law-enforcement “interviews, traffic stops, pedestrian stops, frisks and other types of body searches” have had a disparate impact on individuals of different races constitutes “prima facie evidence” of racial profiling.


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This is absurd. There are bound to be disparities in such police interactions because there are disparities in crime rates. Obviously, law enforcement shouldn’t be pressured to bend to ideological demands while ignoring on-the-ground realities. Worse, the bill makes officers liable for these disparities — over which they have no control — and forces them to prove they aren’t guilty of wrong-doing if taken to court, rather than the other way around.


Disparities based on the characteristics of “ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation” too are considered prima facie evidence of profiling. The same problems that apply to race apply to each of these, but let’s consider gender in particular. Ninety-two percent of the U.S. prison population is male. That’s because men commit the vast majority of crimes in this country. To avoid potential legal action, law-enforcement officers and agencies will need to either manufacture reasons to stop, frisk, and perform more searches on more women, or stop men far less often. Both approaches would be insane and represent a step backwards from equal treatment under the law.


The bill would also funnel federal dollars to progressive organizations such as the NAACP, ACLU, and National Urban League among others. And what for? To study “management and operations standards for law enforcement agencies, including standards relating to administrative due process, residency requirements, compensation and benefits, use of force, racial profiling, early warning and intervention systems, youth justice, school safety” and much more. Then, they’re to use these studies — which we can safely assume won’t be disinterested — to create pilot programs for law enforcement that can be used to fulfill their accreditation standards.


Police departments seeking federal grants, meanwhile, must pledge to spend at least 5 percent of the funds they receive on studying and implementing programs like those that the NAACP, ACLU, et al. are charged with coming up with.


While Democrats have pressed forward with this unpassable, impractical, and partisan legislation, clearly there would have been an opportunity for a more consensus approach. This can be seen in the passage of the FIRST STEP Act and Senator Tim Scott’s efforts to get his JUSTICE Act across the finish line last summer. Sentencing reform, marijuana decriminalization, civil-asset forfeiture, and body cameras are just a few issues where it would be possible to get bipartisan majorities.


Instead, Democrats are pushing a bill that would render our law enforcement less effective, our communities less safe, and our system less just. It is headed for the dustbin in the Senate, and deservedly so.

The Editors comprise the senior editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

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  1. The democrats are passing bills like this one at the request of organizations like Black lives matter and Antifa. they are not for the public benefit. It cripples our police departments that these organization want to eliminate. Without police departments, criminals will run wild. Nest thing will be citizens taking matters into their own hands. And more people will die. This bill must be defeated.

  2. This is the most stupid of all bills that if passed will not help our police officers defend themselves against criminals that intend to do them harm or kill them. First and foremost: George Floyd was a career criminal dirt bag and although to bad he died, there is NO WAY he deserves any type of recognition like he was a model citizen. Just another “THUG” criminal who lived off of hurting the weaker people of our society.

  3. I wonder if the democrats understand arnachy,
    or is this what they want,
    so they can declare martial law
    and finish their coup?
    (Gonna pi$$ tem off when the military does not cooperate
    and places the democrat leaders into custody at GITMO)

  4. If they keep trying to fight God and break God’s laws Guess who wins!!The Lake of fire is waiting for all the Evil ones and it will have plenty of fuel for the burning. That is Almighty God’s promise!!!!Their time is coming soon.

  5. They keep trying to make Floyd some kind of hero. How about adding to his portraits, his rap sheet as a habitual criminal?

    1. That does not matter if your black. The worthless dumb ass a craps will make that a big thing. They should be put on a DO NOT RESPOND LIST. So if someone breaks into their house and they call for help they would be told you hate cops so enjoy your death and get hung up on.

  6. George Forman was a career criminal and died from swallowing drugs that burned a hole in his wind pipe that’s why he died. If he had been smart as he thought he was he would have submitted to the officers demands then fought the arrest in court. Oh wait he thought of himself as a big bad motherf*&#er and NO one was going to tell him what to do, so he fought and lost after swallowing the drugs he was carrying. One less P O S THUG on the streets, makes for a better world for the black children he was selling his drugs too.

    1. Ha George not passed a fake 20 dollar bill he would be alive today. Had he returned the product purchased with the fake 20 dollar bill as the owner of the store asked him he would be alive today. Had George no fought the officer and entered the Police car he would be alive today. Had he not taken an overdose of drugs that morning he would be alive today. We are all better off without George today.

  7. The only solution is the complete dismantling of police forces and the absolute immunity of all citizens who resort to self defense or even vigilantism. A return of the old West, when everyone carried a sidearm, shotgun, or rifle.

  8. and why are crimes rates disparate, to begin with? is it, i don’t know, maybe because career, healthcare, education etc opportunities are disparate too? and correct me if i’m wrong, but i don’t remember republicans advocating too much even for the things mentioned here as ones that’d garner bipartisan support, such as bodycams. for most part it’s dumb insistence on keeping things as it is and stubborn denial of brokenness of what’s clearly broken. also, it’s shocking to see and hear republicans and conservatives, of all people, to advocate for decriminalization of marijuana. i always thought GOP was about principled stance against license of all sorts

  9. This press conference is a bad theater with very bad actors. They propose to liquidate our police departments only because 92% of those arrested are men. Okay, let’s grab the women on the streets and arrest them so that there is an equal number of women. There are more arrested blacks. than the whites: Okay, let’s catch the white pedestrians and arrest them to make them equal .Did we choose the Congress for that?

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