WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO?
The death of George Floyd in 2020 sparked national outrage from many communities to change the way that we police our nation. Countless Black lives have been lost disproportionately at the hands of police, and the nation knows that now is the time to act, before more lives are lost. Legislation from political parties and political organizations has been one of many responses to the tragedy suffered last year.
The BREATHE Act and the Justice in Policing Act are two bills at the forefront of the national conversation following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among others. Although both bills have similar goals — to better our policing system by reducing harm to communities of color — they would go about achieving them in different ways.
The Democrats proposed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act on February 24th, 2021. Its primary focus is to combat the major issues of the way we police our communities now, namely racial bias, excessive force and police misconduct. It Is explicitly responding to the major issues of our militarized police forces in the modern day.
The bill adds accountability by ensuring more investigations into problematic matters, changing police procedure in use of force, requiring cameras, banning no-knock warrants and restricting militarized weapons in police forces, among other provisions.
As mentioned, the point of this bill is a response and redesign to the policing system we have now to explicitly combat the pressing issues our citizens face against police.
The BREATHE Act aims to accomplish much of the same mission as the Justice in Policing Act, but is designed to take it a step further by focusing not only on our police force, but finding better ways to deter crime and keep communities safe.
It aims to divest federal resources that allow militarized police forces, combating the biases of the justice system, investing in additional community resources to deter crime, incentivizing community safety and holding political leaders accountable.
This bill recognizes that police presence alone doesn’t deter crime, and aims to redesign the way we deter crime by further investing more in our communities and not as much in policing.
While the Justice in Policing Act aims to explicitly fix the outstanding problems of our current policing system, it does not acknowledge the needs of the communities to deter crime in a safer manner.
That’s one of the major criticisms of the Democrats’ bill. It does too much to change our policing system but doesn’t invest in our communities to add additional crime-reducing resources.
Not only does the BREATHE Act attack the issues of our police forces, it also provides a plan to redesign the way we deter crime in this nation and keep communities safe without a heavy reliance on a militarized police force.
At the end of the day the racial bias in policing stems from the roots of our nation, and adjusting how we police only solves half the problem. Police alone cannot stop and deter all crime, so providing additional resources to crime-ridden communities can better advance the effort to deter crime.