Rep. Mark Takano of Riverside, hosted a virtual town hall to answer constituent questions about congressional efforts to tackle police reform on Wedensday. Despite a summer of public protests calling for change and bi-partisan support, legislative efforts recently stalled.
Takano says public sentiment around systemic racism in policing and the structure of law in America visibly changed this summer.
“The evidence, I think has been mounting and mounting because of technology," said Takano. "But the technology is only making evident what many people in minority communities have known all along. That they encounter, the use of force that is often wholly disproportionate to the situation.”
He was joined by fellow Democratic Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles, who led House efforts to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The act would nationalize comprehensive police reform including ending choke holds and qualified immunity and provide grants to communities to re-imagine policing.
“What I say is refund the communities," said Bass. "Because what we’ve done is that we cut the safety net in terms of health, economics that people fall through the cracks and then we leave it to the police to take on."
But the bill is stalled in the Senate. Hopes now lie in Republican senators like Tim Scott of South Carolina introducing a better version of the bill. Takano and Bass suggest cities start making reforms that mirror the act while they wait for federal action.
One popular move is the formation of citizen review boards. The city of Riverside Police Department currently has one, but county attempts to form a sherriff’s review board lost momentum in June.