EPIC, Coalition Tell House Judiciary to Remove Provision in Police Reform Bill that Shields Officers Engaging in Racial Profiling
June 18, 2020
EPIC and a coalition of over 20 organizations sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee urging the committee to remove Section 343 from the Justice in Policing Act of 2020. In response to mass protests against police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd's death, more than 200 members of Congress introduced the Justice in Policing Act 2020 to combat police misconduct, use of excessive force, and racial bias in law enforcement. Section 343 limits the release of information about law enforcement officers who engage in racial profiling under the Freedom of Information Act. The letter states, "[I]nformation on law enforcement agencies' compliance with requirements to eliminate racial profiling is vital to the public interest, including information on public officials." The letter further emphasized that provision "undercuts the bill's own proposed reforms" and that the "FOIA already contains exemptions that balance personal information with the public interest." The bill includes a ban on law enforcement using facial recognition software. EPIC has advocated for the suspension of face surveillance systems across the federal government, including federal law enforcement. EPIC advocates for strong government oversight and accountability through its Open Government Project, routinely using the FOIA to obtain information to ensure that the public is fully informed about the activities of the government.