ROANOKE, Va. – Lawmakers in the U.S. House passed an ambitious police reform bill to eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement and prohibit racial and religious profiling.
The bill is named after George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police sparked worldwide protests and calls for change.
The unarmed Black man died after an officer kneeled on his neck.
On Wednesday, House lawmakers passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to address racial injustice.
“It was named after the person that did more for racism than any human being has ever had,” Selwyn Jones, George Floyd’s uncle said.
The bill bans chokeholds and will create a national database to track police misconduct.
Actions that criminal justice expert and former Maryland police officer, Dr. Tod Burke, said are “doable.”
Burke points out data collection from local law enforcement agencies will be crucial to form the database.
“The public needs to hold the police accountable and there has to be that trust and confidence in there,” Burke said.
The bill also limits no-knock warrants.
Police will have to announce their arrival before entering, according to Burke.
However, several months ago, Gov. Ralph Northam signed bills banning no-knock warrants completely and limiting the use of neck-restraints.
It’s legislation Floyd’s uncle agrees with.
“Good job. It’s crazy because I would have never considered Virginia doing something like that,” Jones said.
But for true reform to work, Burke said police and the public need to do their part.
“We have to educate the police and the public if this is going to be effective,” he said.