Matt Sutton 212-613-8026
Washington, D.C. – In response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 without addressing concerns from the advocacy community, Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), released the following statement:
“While we understand the urgency to pass police reform at the federal level, we can’t do it in a way that merely provides a veneer of justice while sacrificing real systemic change at the most opportune moment to achieve it. Unfortunately, because House leadership chose to fast-track last year’s bill, rather than addressing advocates’ and community members’ concerns, that’s exactly the compromise they have made, and today’s vote solidified those failings.
The House-passed bill fails to provide for real reform and accountability and we oppose this bill in its current form. Notably, this bill fails to fully address issues like police militarization and quick-knock raids, policing practices that are disproportionately used against people of color in drug investigations. While the bill places restrictions on programs that facilitate the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, it does not outright put an end to such programs. And while this bill prohibits no-knock warrants for drug cases, it does not outlaw quick-knock raids which can be just as deadly. Moreover, the bill continues to fund police departments and the war on drugs, rather than shift resources to education, housing, harm reduction services, and other infrastructure that strengthens communities and increases public safety.
The seriousness of this moment demands real reform, and the House bill is sadly a far shot from that. We call on the Senate to rectify these shortcomings by working alongside advocates and community members to craft a comprehensive police reform bill that will hold law enforcement accountable, protect our communities and ensure dignity and respect for Black, Latinx and Indigenous lives.”