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Internists Call the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act a ‘Major Step Forward’

Washington, DC (June 24, 2020) In a letter sent this afternoon to leaders in the House of Representatives, the American College of Physicians (ACP) commended the intent and many of the provisions in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and called for its swift passage.

“We commend the sponsors of this legislation for drafting a bill that would improve policing in this country through the reduction of discriminatory practices among law enforcement officers and agencies,” wrote Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP.  “We believe that Congress should no longer wait to reform law enforcement practices in this country when Black individuals and other people of color continue to be the subject of violence and criminal injustice, often at the hands of law enforcement, and at disproportionately high rates.”

ACP’s support for the legislation follows new policy the organization published in the Annals of Internal Medicine last week, Racism and Health in the United States. The new policy details the ways that pervasive systemic racism, discrimination, and violence throughout society have adverse individual and community health consequences. It also shows the negative health impact of discriminatory policing and the excessive use of force against racial minorities in the United States.

In the letter to House leadership, ACP detailed areas of the legislation that are also included in ACP’s policy recommendations.  These include:

  • Improving police accountability through best practices to eliminate the use of excessive force,
  • Improving investigations of police misconduct,
  • Improving transparency in policing through the collection of data,
  • Eliminating the inappropriate use of military force in policing,
  • Increasing the use of police body cameras, and
  • Implementing best practices for local law enforcement agencies.

“The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will not solve all of the issues with racial discrimination and the use of excessive force in law enforcement but it is major step forward that will begin to address this problem,” concluded Dr. Fincher. “We urge the House of Representatives to advance the provisions in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to create transparency and accountability in investigations and reporting of officer misconduct, to incentivize and require a re-evaluation of standards that lead to excessive force and promote adoption of best practices including creating alternatives to use of force, to reduce inappropriate use of military force in community policing, to require use of body cameras, and to create innovation grants to support community engagement in managing public safety. We also encourage Congress to address the urgent need to address the safety and wellness of law enforcement officers at all levels as part of a comprehensive approach to improve law enforcement in the United States.”

Read the detailed recommendations in the letter here.

Contact:& Jackie Blaser, (202) 261-4572, jblaser@acponline.org


About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.