News

Eshoo takes steps to increase police accountability from the federal level on down

Congresswoman also demands end to illegal surveillance of peaceful protesters

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, makes her first public appearance since stay-at-home orders were issued to thousands of demonstrators gathered at a protest against police brutality outside Palo Alto City Hall on June 6. Photo by Lloyd Lee.

Days after speaking before thousands of protesters outside Palo Alto City Hall who called attention to police brutality, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo this week joined federal lawmakers in proposing major reforms for law enforcement and raising concerns over reported surveillance of peaceful demonstrators.

Eshoo, who represents the Midpeninsula, is among more than 160 Democrats within the House of Representatives that introduced on Monday the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, "a bold first step to rebuild the lost trust between police departments and the communities they serve, and help heal our country," she said in a press release.

"The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others demonstrate the lack of accountability and justice when it comes to the killing of Black men and women in our country," Eshoo said. "Importantly, the legislation does not defund police departments. Rather, it requires state and local law enforcement to institute these important reforms in order to receive existing federal grant funding."

The proposed legislation calls for an end to chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants by federal officers, and restrictions on sending military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.

Federal officers would also be required to use dashboard and body cameras, the latter of which would also be mandated for state and local law enforcement agencies, which would spend dollars from the U.S. government for the equipment.

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The act also seeks to change language in federal criminal statute so officers charged in court would be prosecuted based on a "recklessness" standard as opposed to a "willfullness" standard.

A National Police Misconduct Registry would also be created "to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability," according to a fact sheet on the legislation.

On Tuesday morning, a Democratic coalition co-led by Eshoo and Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, signed a letter that demanded that federal agencies stop all illegal surveillance of peaceful protesters across the United States.

Signed by 35 members of Congress, the letter — addressed to the FBI, the National Guard Bureau, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Customs and Border Protection — was motivated by recent evidence and media reports indicating that the agencies made use of aircraft equipped with surveillance tools during protests that followed the May 25 death of Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

The equipment cited in the letter includes tools that can collect cellphone location data; "Stingrays," which have the ability to collect data on phone calls, text messages and browsing history of nearby cellular devices; various facial recognition technology; automated license plate readers; and other surveillance technology.

The letter also expressed "deep and profound concerns" over surveillance tactics that they said "are significantly chilling the First Amendment rights of Americans."

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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Jamey Padojino
 
Jamey V. Padojino, a Bay Area native, joined the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2017. She edits online stories, compiles the Express newsletter and curates the Weekly's social media accounts. Read more >>

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Eshoo takes steps to increase police accountability from the federal level on down

Congresswoman also demands end to illegal surveillance of peaceful protesters

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 11:05 am

Days after speaking before thousands of protesters outside Palo Alto City Hall who called attention to police brutality, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo this week joined federal lawmakers in proposing major reforms for law enforcement and raising concerns over reported surveillance of peaceful demonstrators.

Eshoo, who represents the Midpeninsula, is among more than 160 Democrats within the House of Representatives that introduced on Monday the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, "a bold first step to rebuild the lost trust between police departments and the communities they serve, and help heal our country," she said in a press release.

"The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others demonstrate the lack of accountability and justice when it comes to the killing of Black men and women in our country," Eshoo said. "Importantly, the legislation does not defund police departments. Rather, it requires state and local law enforcement to institute these important reforms in order to receive existing federal grant funding."

The proposed legislation calls for an end to chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants by federal officers, and restrictions on sending military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies.

Federal officers would also be required to use dashboard and body cameras, the latter of which would also be mandated for state and local law enforcement agencies, which would spend dollars from the U.S. government for the equipment.

The act also seeks to change language in federal criminal statute so officers charged in court would be prosecuted based on a "recklessness" standard as opposed to a "willfullness" standard.

A National Police Misconduct Registry would also be created "to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability," according to a fact sheet on the legislation.

On Tuesday morning, a Democratic coalition co-led by Eshoo and Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, signed a letter that demanded that federal agencies stop all illegal surveillance of peaceful protesters across the United States.

Signed by 35 members of Congress, the letter — addressed to the FBI, the National Guard Bureau, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Customs and Border Protection — was motivated by recent evidence and media reports indicating that the agencies made use of aircraft equipped with surveillance tools during protests that followed the May 25 death of Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

The equipment cited in the letter includes tools that can collect cellphone location data; "Stingrays," which have the ability to collect data on phone calls, text messages and browsing history of nearby cellular devices; various facial recognition technology; automated license plate readers; and other surveillance technology.

The letter also expressed "deep and profound concerns" over surveillance tactics that they said "are significantly chilling the First Amendment rights of Americans."

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Comments

David B
Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:20 pm
David B, Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:20 pm

Two thumbs up to this. I might not support "Defund the Police" (whatever that's intended to mean) but I certainly support "Reinvent or Rethink or Reboot Policing". It's going to be a long, hard process, but the last few weeks prove (what many already knew) that it's badly needed.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 11, 2020 at 4:06 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 11, 2020 at 4:06 pm

In order to recognize and enhance the professionalism of police officers I urge that the Professional Peace Officers Training, Recognition and Licensure Act that shall provide assistance to the States to:

1- Enhance individual and departmental training in non-violent methods of arrest and detention
2- Recognize Best Practices on a nationwide basis
3 - Develop and implement State licensure programs for those peace officers that complete a formal State administered qualification and training program which includes a probationary period of active service and which then grants a State license to serve a Registered Peace Officer in that State.
4 - Develop and administer a Continuing Education Program that Registered Peace Officers must complete on an annual basis to retain their State license.
5 - Establish a National Registry of Registered Police Officers that includes information on both recurrent training and disciplinary actions.


Most important
another community
on Jun 11, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Most important, another community
on Jun 11, 2020 at 4:18 pm

Most important thing that can possibly be done: bust the police union. Once you do that, politicians can enact rational legislation. Once you do that, California cities will be able to pay police officers true market compensation/retirement instead of the craziness we currently have. Once you do that, when there is a problem officer, the department can fire him.

All issues flow from this: the unions are preventing financial and behavioral accountability. The net result is that too many police are behaving like a bunch of spoiled brats because they can.

This is the elephant in the room.

(I also don't support defunding/dismantling the police, by the way)


de-fund, refund and reform.
Atherton: other
on Jun 11, 2020 at 4:49 pm
de-fund, refund and reform., Atherton: other
on Jun 11, 2020 at 4:49 pm

Refund and Reform the police.

Yes, that includes defunding as we move along the path of better supporting the community with non-police functions being performed by non-police.

They are out of control. Police have had decades to identify and discard "bad apples." Instead, they hide their misdeeds and cover for them.

They had their chance - they blew it.

Refund and Reform.


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