DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Steve Cohen
Sent By: matthew.weisman@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 2302
Date: 11/30/2015

Cosponsor the Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2015

Current cosponsors include: Reps. Robert Brady, Corrine Brown, G.K. Butterfield, Andre Carson, Judy Chu, David Cicilline, Elijah Cummings, Marcia Fudge, Al Green, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, Alcee Hastings, Mike Honda, Hakeem Jeffries, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Brenda Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Jerry McNerney, Gregory Meeks, Gwen Moore, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Stacey Plaskett, Mark Pocan, Charlie Rangel, Bobby Rush, Jose Serrano, Louise Slaughter, Mark Takano, Bennie Thompson, Paul Tonko, Chris Van Hollen, Marc Veasey, Maxine Waters

Supported by NAACP

Dear Colleague:

The recently released video of a Chicago police officer shooting 17 year old Laquan McDonald is deeply disturbing.  Congress needs to act.

Local prosecutors should not be investigating the same police with whom they work so closely.

The Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2015, H.R. 2302, would require that, as a condition of receipt of full federal Byrne-JAG funding:

  • Enrollees at law enforcement academies receive sensitivity training on ethnic and racial bias, cultural diversity, and police interaction with the disabled, mentally ill, and new immigrants.
  • States adopt laws requiring independent investigations and prosecutions of law enforcement officers in cases where one or more of the alleged offenses involves an officer’s use of deadly force in the course of carrying out his or her official duties.

The bill directly addresses a key recommendation included in President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing’s final report:  (See Action Item 2.2.3 in http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/pdf/taskforce/TaskForce_FinalReport.pdf — on p. 21 of the final report):

“2.2.3 Action Item:

The task force encour­ages policies that mandate the use of external and independent prosecutors in cases of police use of force resulting in death, officer-involved shootings resulting in injury or death, or in-custody deaths.

Strong systems and policies that encourage use of an independent prosecutor for reviewing police uses of force and for prosecution in cases of inappropriate deadly force and in-custody death will demonstrate the transparency to the public that can lead to mutual trust between community and law enforcement.”

If you have any questions, or to cosponsor, please contact Yvette Cravins in Rep. Clay’s office (yvette.cravins@mail.house.gov) or Matt Weisman in Rep. Cohen’s office (matthew.weisman@mail.house.gov).

 

Sincerely,

Wm. Lacy Clay                              Steve Cohen

Member of Congress                      Member of Congress