1. Legislative Ask
  2. Criminal Justice

America Needs Police Reform

By José Santos Woss, June 18, 2020

We call on Congress for strong action to address police abuse that results in murder and violence against Black people, the militarization of the police, and legislation that begins to transform policing.

America needed police reform long before November 22, 2014 when Tamir Rice was shot in a public park while he was playing with a toy gun. America needed police reform before March 13, 2020 when Breonna Taylor was killed. America needed police reform long before May 25, 2020 when George Floyd was killed when a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes

Every member of Congress can take swift action in response to ongoing fatal and racist police killings and other violence against Black people across our country. Much of the work needs to be done at the local and state level. But federal legislation is also urgently needed.

The House has taken a good first step by approving the Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120). We urge Senators to pass the Senate companion (S. 3912) or legislation that includes the same provisions. Much more needs to be done, but this legislation is a good first step.

The Justice in Policing Act (H.R.7120/S.3912), developed by the Congressional Black Caucus, includes these provisions that should be part of any legislation approved by Congress:

  • Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling. Mandates training and requires data collection.
  • Raises the use of force standard to prevent police officers from using lethal force unless all nonlethal methods have been exhausted. Requires the use of de-escalation techniques.
  • Bans chokeholds and no-knock warrants. Also conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments on banning both chokeholds and no-knock warrants.
  • Limits the transfer of military-grade equipment (1033 Program ) to state and local law enforcement.

Contact: Jose Woss, Legislative Manager, Criminal Justice and Election Integrity. jose@fcnl.org

Criminal Justice 

Injustice & Inequity in the Justice System

We all lose when we lock people away. Incarceration denies the opportunities for rehabilitation and healing that are necessary for a person to fulfill his or her potential. This is a loss not only to the individual and his or her family but to society as a whole.

José Santos Woss

  • Legislative Manager, Criminal Justice and Election Integrity

José is the Legislative Manager for Criminal Justice and Election Integrity. He leads FCNL’s work on criminal justice reform, election integrity, and policing. He helps to lead the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition, an alliance of more than 40 national faith groups advocating to end mass incarceration.