June 30, 2020
to Pass Measure to Give State AGs Authority to Investigate Unconstitutional
Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford applauds the U.S. House
of Representatives for its passage of police reform legislation and urges the U.S.
Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. If passed, the
Act will give state attorneys general clear statutory authority to investigate
patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing.
The George Floyd Justice in
Policing Act of 2020, or H.R. 7120, would give state attorneys general the authority
to investigate and address patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing,
as well as to acquire data about use of excessive force by officers. Earlier
this month, AG Ford and a coalition of attorneys general in submitted a letter to Congressional
leadership arguing that attorneys
general should have authority to investigate and resolve patterns or practices
of unconstitutional policing, particularly in the event that the U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ) fails to use its authority to act.
The recent killings of George
Floyd and Breonna Taylor have left millions of Americans saddened, outraged,
and vulnerable, including those of us in law enforcement,” said AG Ford. “I commend the House of Representatives for passing
this police-reform legislation, and I hope the Senate will do the same to
better enable my Office to adhere to its creed that Our Job is Justice.”
In addition to allowing state
attorneys general to conduct pattern-or-practice investigations, the bill would
give state attorneys general authority to issue subpoenas as part of
pattern-or-practice investigations, and, when necessary, take action in federal
district court. The measure also authorizes appropriations of up to $100
million for a federal grant program to help fund state attorneys general’s
pattern-or-practice investigations during fiscal years 2021 to 2023.
AG Ford is calling for the
Senate to pass the legislation immediately, as the DOJ has largely refused to
address the pervasive problem of police misconduct and left communities without
critical civil rights protections. In his June 4th letter to
Congressional leaders, AG Ford highlighted the dramatic decrease in
pattern-or-practice investigations initiated by the DOJ since 2017. The
attorneys general stated that the DOJ initiated 69 pattern-or-practice
investigations between 1994 and 2017, which resulted in 40 court-enforceable
consent decrees. Since January 2017, the DOJ has initiated zero
pattern-or-practice investigations into police conduct and has not entered any
H.R. 7120 would also allow state
attorneys general to acquire data about the use of excessive force by law
enforcement officers. Such data would be especially important when identifying
law enforcement agencies that have above-average rates of excessive force
complaints, which can also help identify at-risk law enforcement agencies
before a devastating incident occurs. For example, the former Minneapolis
police officer accused of killing 46-year-old George Floyd on May 25 had 18
prior complaints filed against him with the Minneapolis Police Department’s
The bill was co-sponsored by
Representatives Horsford (NV-04), Lee (NV-03) and Titus (NV-01).
In addition to Nevada, attorneys
general from the following states also applaud the Policing Act of 2020: California,
Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania,
Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.