Virginia Legislative Black Caucus unveils police reform agenda

Virginia News

The chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico. (photo taken by 8News)

Members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus are calling for immediate action to be taken to reform policing in the state, announcing sweeping legislative proposals Wednesday “to eliminate law enforcement abuse, prevent and punish racist behaviors, weed out institutional discrimination, and increase accountability at all levels of law enforcement.”

The caucus released a list of legislative priorities — which is provided below — that its members intend to introduce during this summer’s special session.

“The country and the Commonwealth stand at the threshold of substantial and necessary social and political change,” the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus said in a statement. “As leaders, the next steps are to ensure that there is a bold swing towards greater racial and social justice and change across Virginia. 

Address & Combat Racism Directly by:

  • Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Uncovering Racial Disparities in all Areas of Policy & Creating Solutions to Bridge the Gaps
  • Expanding Hate Crimes to Include False 911 Calls Based on Race
  • Requiring Courts to Publish Racial and Other Demographic Data of all Low-level Offenses

Hold Police Accountable, Strengthen Regulation, & Improve Transparency by: 

  • Creating a Civilian Review Board with Subpoena Power 
  • Ending Qualified Immunity & Making Changes to Sovereign Immunity
  • Establishing a Statewide Officer Database 
  • Standardizing and Reforming Police Administration, Training, and Accountability
  • Expanding Police Decertification Criteria
  • Expanding the Use of Body Cams
  • Requiring Independent Investigations for All Police-Involved Shootings/Deaths

Prevent Law Enforcement Excessive Use of Force by:

  • Defining and Restricting Excessive Use of Force 
  • Banning the Use of Chokeholds
  • Restricting the Use of Tear Gas and Militarization Tactics and Weapons Against Civilians
  • Passing “Breonna’s Law” to End No-Knock Warrants

Replace Law Enforcement’s Role in Certain Areas with Trained Specialists by:

  • Implementing the “Marcus Alert” to Require Behavioral/Mental Health Professionals to Respond to those thought to be having Mental Health Crises
  • DIVESTING from Large Law Enforcement Budgets & INVESTING More in Communities
  • Reducing SRO Presence in Schools & Replacing them with Mental Health Professionals

Continue the Fight for Criminal Justice Reform by:

  • Implementing Automatic Expungement
  • Reinstituting Parole
  • Passing Cash Bail Reform
  • Increasing Good Behavior Sentence Credits
  • Legalizing Marijuana 

Pass COVID-19 Relief & Protections by:

  • Expanding Protections Related to Housing & Evictions
  • Providing Rent and Mortgage Relief
  • Classifying Frontline Workers as Essential Workers 
  • Requiring Hazard Pay and PPE for Essential Workers
  • Guaranteeing Paid Sick Leave

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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