Golden Statement on George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

June 26, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) released the following statement announcing that he would vote yes on H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, when it comes to the floor of the House of Representatives this evening. 

“It is a fundamental principle of our democracy: every American should be treated equally before the law, regardless of race, gender, economic status, or any other factor. Our country urgently needs to address the racism and inequality that have persisted for far too long, and we must ensure accountability for unjustified use of force by law enforcement officers, such as what took place in Minneapolis with the killing of George Floyd. 

“Congress cannot fix everything, but we do have a responsibility to ensure that federal laws reflect the core ideals and principles of the nation. The bill we are voting on today is not perfect, but on balance it includes many good provisions that represent progress. Perhaps most significant among them would be the establishment of a national registry for police misconduct and increased data-gathering. These provisions would help to inform oversight and future policymaking efforts and ensure a sustained commitment to progress.  

“In our state, the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (MCJA) is the single clearinghouse for certification as a police officer. Many provisions in today’s bill reinforce the policies that MCJA is already implementing -- such as encouraging anti-bias and de-escalation tactics, banning chokeholds unless deadly force is authorized, collecting data on the use of force, and ensuring outside review in all deadly force cases. Certainly Maine should continue to make improvements, but other states and departments across the country could also learn from the approach that Maine is already taking.  

“We should not forget that the vast majority of the men and women who serve in law enforcement are honorable public servants who put their lives on the line on a daily basis to protect us and our communities. I am grateful for the work they do and strongly disagree with the rhetoric used by those who seek to malign all police officers or “defund the police.” That is the wrong approach. The bill today provides law enforcement officers with more training and resources, not less, while reinforcing our commitment to shine a light on bad actors and on any instances of unacceptable negligence, unjustified violence, or racism.

“With the passage of this bill, we are at an inflection point, and members of Congress in both parties would do well to learn from the millions of our constituents who have recognized this tragic moment as an opportunity to set aside their differences, come together, and demand change. The House and Senate must do the same. While some details of our two bills differ, there is room to come to agreement, but it does not appear that congressional leaders in either party are moving us in that direction. This cannot be a moment for partisanship or electoral politics -- the nation needs to see that Congress can work together. Leaders need to stay at the negotiating table, find common ground, and focus on what we can accomplish together now. 

“One bill alone cannot solve the long history of racism and inequality in America. But people across the nation are rightfully demanding a long-overdue step forward, and Congress should rise to meet this moment.” - Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02)

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act includes, among other provisions, measures to: 

  • Mandate training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
  • Ban chokeholds and carotid holds at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning chokeholds.
  • Require that deadly force be used only as a last resort and requires officers to employ de-escalation techniques first.
  • Require federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
  • Create a nationwide police misconduct registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
  • Mandate state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.