U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and U.S. Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.-17) introduced the PEACE Act, legislation to change the federal standard for the use of force by federal officers to require that force be used only when necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury. The bill was passed by the House as part of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act last Congress.
This groundbreaking use-of-force reform legislation would also incentivize states who wish to receive additional public safety funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to enact similar legislation to require a comparable standard for local police officers. The federal effort builds on California’s historic legislation (AB 392, “Act to Save Lives”) by enshrining the “necessity” standard.
“We must ensure that law enforcement officers, who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, have clear guidelines on the use of deadly force,” said Senator Padilla. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen over and over again the tragic consequences, particularly in communities of color, when we don’t. The PEACE Act will work to raise the standard on use of deadly force to save lives and hold the federal law enforcement officers who serve our communities to the high standard that Americans deserve.”
“The use of force should always be a last resort. This bill is about preventing the deadly escalation of force to save innocent lives and protect police officers’ lives as well. Everyone is safer when we prioritize communication and de-escalation,” said Rep. Khanna. “I’m proud to be introducing a historic police reform bill with Senator Padilla. This is a change that is long overdue.”
Senator Padilla has also introduced legislation to improve accountability for federal law enforcement and allow individuals to sue officers and agencies in civil court for violations of their civil and constitutional rights. He also introduced legislation to create mechanisms for border residents and stakeholders to provide recommendations and oversight of border policies, while improving the training and enforcement accountability of U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Full text of the bill is available here.