Durbin Speaks To Chicago Bar Association About Justice In Policing Act

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke to the Chicago Bar Association (CBA) Young Lawyers Section’s (YLS) Racial Justice Coalition via webcast about the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, a comprehensive approach to hold police accountable for misconduct, change the culture of law enforcement, and build trust between law enforcement and our communities. 

“The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black and Brown Americans have made clear that the status quo is not acceptable when it comes to matters of race and policing in America.  Last month, I was proud to join my colleagues, Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, in introducing the Justice in Policing Act of 2020.  This legislation is a comprehensive approach to police reform,” Durbin said.  “We owe it to all of the Black and Brown lives we have lost to brutal acts of racial injustice to take real action to bring about justice and accountability, and I’m thankful for the chance to speak with young Chicagoland lawyers about these priorities.  I hope we can seize this moment and work together to finally make the necessary changes that will create a safer, more just America.”

The CBA’s YLS Racial Justice Coalition was formed with the purpose of collaborating with leading forces in the Chicagoland legal community to take action against racial injustice through service programs, educational events, and community engagement. 

Among other initiatives, the Justice in Policing Act of 2020:

  • Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
  • Bans chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
  • Mandates the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal offices and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
  • Creates law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices and requires the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing.
  • Improves the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.

A fact sheet on the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is available here.

When Durbin chaired the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights, he held several hearings on race in America, including his last hearing as Chairman in December 2014 on the State of Civil and Human Rights in the United States.