Politics

The Senate Police Reform Bill Does Nothing

Police in riot gear

The Fourth Amendment

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

In order to renew faith in law enforcement, Congress has taken on police reform legislation. Well, the House of Representatives did. The only interesting point of the Senate’s reform bill was the presentation. The Senators appeared in masks. The bill itself does nothing.

Chokeholds

Chokeholds will not be illegal. They will not be recommended. The bill aims to politely suggest there are other ways to restrain a person. The use of chokeholds is at the discretion of the officer. What does that mean? In an actual confrontation, who decides if the officer used excessive force by employing a chokehold? 

Police Immunity

Under the Senate plan, the police will retain qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is supposed to hold a public official accountable and also protect them from liability in the performance of their duties. The police cannot violate a statute. Qualified immunity is a wide, and deep, grey area. It is very hard to interpret. [1]

No Knock Warrants

The police can bust into your house without a warrant if a judge gives permission. Do the same police have immunity if they execute the warrant on the wrong address? [2]

Funding

More funds will be given to law enforcement. Will the money go to training or pay raises? Will police forces be given more surplus military equipment? Will any funds be devote to alternative programs? 

This Does Not Look Like Reform

This is not reform. This is a pat on the head. It will not ease the tension between the community, especially the black community, and the police. This bill sends a signal to the community that they really don’t care about citizens. It also sends a signal to law enforcement that nothing much will change. 

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/qualified_immunity

[2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/no-knock_warrant

Authorizing remote voting by proxy in the House of Representatives and providing for official remote committee proceedings during a public health emergency due to a novel coronavirus, and for other purposes (H Res 965) – Passage Passed – House

Authorizing remote voting by proxy in the House of Representatives and providing for official remote committee proceedings during a public health emergency due to a novel coronavirus, and for other purposes (H Res 965) – Passage Passed – House

Source: VoteSmart
Authorizing remote voting by proxy in the House of Representatives and providing for official remote committee proceedings during a public health emergency due to a novel coronavirus, and for other purposes (H Res 965) – Passage Passed – House

A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress (S J Res 68) – Passage Failed – Executive

A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress (S J Res 68) – Passage Failed – Executive

Source: VoteSmart
A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress (S J Res 68) – Passage Failed – Executive

A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress (S J Res 68) – Override of Veto Failed – Senate

A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress (S J Res 68) – Override of Veto Failed – Senate

Source: VoteSmart
A joint resolution to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress (S J Res 68) – Override of Veto Failed – Senate

Establishing a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis as a select investigative subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Reform (H Res 938) – Passage Passed – House

Establishing a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis as a select investigative subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Reform (H Res 938) – Passage Passed – House

Source: VoteSmart
Establishing a Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis as a select investigative subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Reform (H Res 938) – Passage Passed – House