The Biden administration has endorsed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a sweeping police “reform” bill intended to fight “systemic racism” in police departments.
The House approved HR 1280, introduced by California Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, on Wednesday. A similar bill was passed by the House last year, but it stalled in the Senate. The new bill could face the same fate.
The legislation was named after the black man who died in police custody last May after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd’s death triggered the demonstrations and deadly riots that spread throughout the U.S. last summer.
Washington lawyer Hans Bader analyzed HR 1280 in an article published on the legal blog Liberty Unyielding.
Bader said it “could lead to more racial and sexual profiling, such as gender-based stops of female motorists” and “could actually cause systematic racism and sexism.” (Emphasis added.)
According to Bader, this bill “encourages police departments to adopt quotas based on gender and race for ‘traffic stops,’ ‘pedestrian stops,’ and ‘interviews.’ The practical effect would be to encourage police departments to stop innocent women, Asians, and whites, just to meet quotas based on gender and race. If police departments don’t meet these quotas, they could be sued by the Justice Department or individuals they stop.”
Moreover, “Section 311 of the Act forbids what it calls ‘racial profiling.’ This is defined to include not just race, but also ‘gender’ in Section 302(a)(6) of the bill. But it defines ‘profiling’ in such a crudely-mechanical way that it actually encourages profiling, rather than outlawing it,” he said.
Bader explained that “under the bill, what matters is numbers and racial bean-counting, not actual racism or sexism. ‘Disparate impact’ in police stops or interviews based on race or gender — for example, stopping more men than women, or interviewing more blacks than Asians or whites — is defined as ‘prima facie evidence’ of a ‘violation.’
“That means that numbers alone are enough for a judge to find a police department in violation of the Act. Prima facie evidence is a legal term meaning that the person suing has provided enough evidence to prove something, in the absence of proof to the contrary by the entity being sued, which bears the burden of proving itself innocent.”
Bader provided examples in layman’s terms.
Statistically, men commit more crimes than women. They also speed and violate traffic laws more often.
Asian-Americans, on average, commit fewer crimes than white people, and both generally commit fewer crimes per capita than black people.
Even so, if a police officer stopped more men than women, or more black people than white or Asian, he or she could be found to have violated the terms of this bill.
How many officers would be found to be in violation if they merely stopped motorists whom they believed were violating the law — speeding, driving recklessly or erratically, etc.? Or if they pursued only those individuals they thought had committed a crime?
Answer: most of them.
They would be guilty of sexual or racial profiling.
In order to be in compliance with this law, an officer would have to stop women at the same rate as men even if they weren’t violating the law. The same would be true with different racial groups.
Bader cited U.S. v. Armstrong, in which the Supreme Court determined that “crime rates differ by race. That’s why arrest rates differ by race, as a recent federal study of violent crime shows. Yet the bill treats stopping fewer Asians than whites, or fewer whites than blacks, as suspicious,” he said.
Naturally, “all police departments everywhere are presumptively guilty under the bill.”
And this would result in real-world consequences. Bader indicated what officers might expect were this bill to become law.
“The bill doesn’t explain how they can possibly rebut this presumption of guilt or prove themselves innocent,” he said. “So if they wish to avoid being sued, and avoid being forced to pay the attorneys fees and expert-witness costs of the person suing them, police departments will have an incentive under the bill to stop only as many men as women — even if more men are speeding or committing crimes — and to adopt racial quotas in police stops.
“That could undermine road safety by encouraging police to ignore speeding or other violations just because they were committed by members of a particular gender or race.”
Further, Bader pointed out that “it is unconstitutional to have racial quotas in punishment or arrests.”
It’s hard enough to be a police officer. Adding these senseless conditions would waste the time of both the officer and the person who is not suspected of wrongdoing but must be stopped so an officer can satisfy the requirements of this misguided legislation.
If an officer observes someone violating the law, that person should be stopped regardless of sex or race.
Law enforcement isn’t a game. Making sure that one has a perfectly proportional number of encounters is irrational.
A lot of good officers left law enforcement last year as a result of the Democrats’ “defund the police” campaign. If HR 1280 were to become law, we would lose a lot more.
No individual with an ounce of common sense would agree to subject himself to this pointless and nonsensical code of conduct.
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