Washington, D.C., October 29, 2020 - Today, Brady applauds Virginia Governor Ralph Northam for signing a slate of policing reform bills into law. These new laws will reform law enforcement practices that have disproportionately affected and targeted Black and Brown individuals. The Governor’s action is a needed step to address this pressing issue. Brady recognizes that we need action, not just symbolic gestures, to create a fairer policing system.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“These new laws will make Virginia safer, especially for people and communities of color. From banning ‘no-knock’ warrants and limiting neck restraints to standardizing aspects of law enforcement training procedures, these new laws are a meaningful step towards reforming policing practices that disproportionately and adversely affect Black and Brown Virginians. Brady thanks the Virginia General Assembly for taking up and passing these reforms and thanks Gov. Northam for signing them into law. We hope to see other states make similar strides toward a safer future.”
Brady Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:
“This year many Americans have newly awakened to the fact that policing has historically and continues to target and affect communities of color. Virginia’s new laws and Gov. Northam’s action recognize that the Commonwealth’s police and Criminal Justice Services Board need tangible reform if they are to effectively serve these communities. We are grateful to Gov. Northam for his leadership on this issue and for signing these bills into law. This is a needed and meaningful first step in the process of creating a fairer and more equitable Commonwealth for all Virginians.”
About the Bills:
Gov. Northam signed an omnibus police reform bill, SB 5030, inclusive of the following legislation:
HB 5029: a bill requiring law enforcement officers to intervene if they witness the use or attempted use of excessive force by another officer, and to render aid to an individual injured as a result of the excessive use of force.
HB 5045: a bill making it unlawful for law enforcement officers from engaging in sexual activity with a person who they have arrested or detained, an inmate, parolee, probationer, juvenile detainee, or pretrial defendant or post trial offender.
HB 5051: a bill expanding the de-certification process for law enforcement officers.
HB 5069: a bill limiting law enforcement’s use of neck restraints, including chokeholds, carotid restraints, and lateral vascular neck restraints.
HB 5099: a bill banning law enforcement officers from executing or participating in “no-knock” warrants and limiting the execution of warrants during nighttime hours.
HB 5104: a bill requiring the request and disclosure of documents related to an officer’s employment record, including disciplinary history, before hiring.
HB 5108: a bill expanding and diversifying the membership of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Board to be more inclusive of communities of color, mental health practitioners, and social justice interests.
HB 5109: a bill creating standardized training procedures for law enforcement officers across the Commonwealth and mandating this training to include awareness of racism and bias-biased profiling, as well as instruction on de-escalation techniques.
Last week, Governor Northam also signed into law another Brady-endorsed bill, HB 5072, which empowers the Attorney General to conduct an investigation or file a civil action against a law enforcement agency or locality for engaging in a pattern or practice of law enforcement officer conduct that deprives individuals of their rights.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.