H.B. 88 -
Justice in Policing Act of 2020
Summary of Provisions in Draft Proposed George Floyd Act
The following is a summary of the reforms proposed for the George Floyd Act as currently being drafted by legal counsel. Chairwoman Senfronia Thompson sent the following provisions for drafting:
1. A state cause of action for deprivation of rights under color of law, to address qualified immunity.
2. New and amended duties of police as follows:
a. Duty to Intervene added
b. Duty to identify added
c. Duty to render aid added
d. Duty to arrest on all crimes removed (may arrest, but arrests no longer mandatory)
3. Use of force rules narrowed
a. Strict prohibition on chokeholds
b. All force must be proportionate to the circumstance and the seriousness of the offense (to address using serious force over minor offenses) and must be accompanied by attempt to de-escalate, warning, and does not present risk to bystanders
c. Eliminates certain allowable use of lethal force and requires imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death, no other lesser level of force could have worked, the use of force does not present a risk to bystanders, and the force terminates as soon as the threat is lessened.
4. Ends arrest for non-jailable fine only violations and requires a local policy (formerly the Sandra Bland Act of 2019)
5. Requires corroboration for the testimony of an undercover police officer in narcotics cases (just as corroboration is already required for non-police informants.) George Floyd was among 160 people notified by Harris County that his old conviction on drug charges, based solely on the testimony of undercover narcotics officer Gerald Goines, could be overturned. He never got the notice.
6. Requires violations of policy and law by police to be set out in a clear, progressive disciplinary matrix that cannot be overturned or changed by contract with police union. With adherence to matrix, discipline is presumed reasonable on appeal. Model will be produced in statewide process.