Shelby signs on to federal Justice Act to curb police violence

Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 9:42 AM CDT
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Alabama’s senior U.S. senator, Republican Richard Shelby, has signed on as a cosponsor for a piece of police reform legislation making its way through Congress.

The legislation, called the Justice Act, is the Republican response to growing concern about police violence and misconduct in the wake of the death of George Floyd and other minorities.

“This bill will help police departments across our nation to implement practical reforms such as banning chokeholds, training officers on de-escalation practices, requiring body-worn cameras, and sharing officer disciplinary records,” Shelby said in a statement on social media.

But while the GOP is championing the legislation brought by Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the nation’s only black Republican senator, it’s now one of two pieces of dueling legislation on Capitol Hill.

Democrats are busy putting together their own bill, called the Justice in Policing Act. It offers more sweeping changes of the policing system. It would, among other things, limit legal protections for police, create a national database of excessive-force encounters and ban police chokeholds.

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, weighed-in Thursday saying the community and police have to be there for each other, and that the problem didn’t develop overnight so it will take some time to get things right.

Shelby urged both Republicans and Democrats to get behind the bill, saying “it is my hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are willing to work together to pass the Justice Act and implement reforms that will help all Americans feel safe and protected in their communities.”

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