This is a response to a problem seen in America. The problem is that there are 18,000 police departments in the country and only one Department of Justice. It is impossible to think that one Justice Department can keep track of that many departments. Events in Ferguson, Missouri showed how trouble can be brewing and apparent to many people who can do nothing about it. It is time for people to have a say in their policing. This is a step in that direction.
(a) UNIVERSAL REPORTING REQUIREMENTS. As part of this Act, all policing jurisdictions are required to report the following every twelve months to the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") in the manner that agency shall specify in the Code of Federal Regulations:
(1) The name, address, race and occupation (if known) of any person shot with a firearm or taser by a member of that police unit.
(2) The name, address, race and rank of any officer shooting a Citizen, Resident Alien or other person.
(3) Whether the police action resulted in death or hospitalization.
(4) Whether that officer has shot another person during his or her career as a police officer.
(i) If so, provide each instance, including,
(ii) Date, reason for use of force, disposition of person targeted (legally and medically), and the disposition of any related criminal or civil matters.
(5) The filing and disposition of any criminal or civil matters related to the use of force.
(6) The result of any internal investigation, including punishment, if any, meted out.
(7) The language minority status of any individuals involved.
(8) The number of shots fired at any human being by any weapon during the course of police activities, including the type of weapon.
(9) The number of target or practice shots taken by the police unit during the preceding 12 months.
(10) The number of full- and part-time employees of the police unit.
(11) The number of police officers who complained of physical injury because of contact with the public during the course of police activities.
(12) The number of civilians who complained of physical injury because of contact with the police during the course of police activities.
(b) To encourage accurate and prompt reporting, it is expressly provided that the report of any police unit prepared pursuant to this Act shall not be intended for use as evidence against any individual police officer in any civil or criminal proceeding.
(c) ONE-TIME UNIVERSAL REPORTING REQUIREMENT. As part of this Act, all policing jurisdictions are required to report the items described above in (a)(1)-(12) for each of the preceding five years to the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") in the manner that agency shall specify in the Code of Federal Regulations.
(d) Each Section 1 report will be signed by the police unit's commanding officer and, based upon information and belief, sworn to be true and correct. Failure to comply with the universal reporting requirements described above shall subject that police unit to designation as a Federal Over-Policed Rights Act Jurisdiction and subject that unit to forfeiture of any or all federal funding or equipment. The Department of Justice will enforce Section 1 of this Act.
(e) The Federal Bureau of Investigation shall report the numbers from (a)(1)-(12) each year to the public.
(a) A Citizen of the United States or Resident Alien shall have the right to file in federal court in his or her political subdivision of residence an Official Complaint against any police department of that jurisdiction that has shown a long-standing pattern of abuse, brutality or racial or language minority animus of at least eighteen month's duration even if that Citizen or Resident Alien has not been directly affected by police or state actions.
(b) STANDING AND WAIVER OF FEES. By virtue of a person's residence in a jurisdiction, he or she is deemed to have standing to sue. Everyone in a jurisdiction is affected in one way or another by the policing carried out in that jurisdiction. Filing fees and any trial or witness fees for this action are waived. Complainant will be responsible for any fees necessary to effectuate Service of Process on the police organization. The Complaint and all subsequent pleadings will be prepared and argued by an attorney in good standing in that federal district and follow current federal rules of civil procedure except as described below or amended for good cause by the federal district court.
(c) JURISDICTION; EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE OR OTHER REMEDIES. The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of proceedings instituted pursuant to this Act and shall exercise the same without regard to whether a person asserting rights under the provisions herein shall have exhausted any administrative or other remedies that may be provided by law.
(d) SPEEDY TRIAL PROVISION. A hearing and disposition of this matter shall occur within six months after the police organization has filed its Answer. The parties shall provide expedited discovery. One month after the police unit has filed its Answer, the court shall convene the parties to discuss discovery and case management. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 sanctions will apply to all proceedings herein, as will the inherent contempt powers of the court. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 will not, except that a police unit may file a Motion to Dismiss if the complainant is not a resident of the applicable jurisdiction.
(e) CONSOLIDATION OF CASES. If it will not do too much violence to the Speedy Trial provision described above, the court may consolidate multiple independent complaints for hearing.
(f) At the election of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice may enter the suit on behalf of the Complainant; however, if the Complainant voices an objection, he or she will be allowed to proceed with the Department of Justice appearing as a friend of the court. At any time during the proceedings and after adjudication, the Attorney General may appoint a local or state government authority as its designee to appear at hearings and receive reports and take all actions available to the Attorney General and Department of Justice under this Act. The designee will be reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenditures.
(g) If the court, after hearing, finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the police unit has had a long-standing pattern of abuse, brutality or racial or language minority animus, then the court shall designate that police unit as a Federal Over-Policed Rights Act jurisdiction. The local police unit may appeal, but there shall be no stay of this Act pending appeal. The complainant shall also have the right to appeal an adverse verdict.
(a) PENALTIES, CONDITIONS AND PROBATION. This Act in no way is intended to limit the authority or the kinds of conditions a federal district court judge might feel appropriately tailored to a given situation. However, a designation as an Over-Policed Rights Act jurisdiction shall, at a minimum, result in the following, unless good cause is shown:
(1) The court shall appoint volunteer observers of good moral character who reside in the jurisdiction to monitor the police unit as described herein.
(2) The specific reporting requirements for an Over-Policed Rights Act jurisdiction, as described below, shall be enforced.
(3) The Over-Policed Rights Act jurisdiction will forfeit all federal "militarized" hardware, including only vehicles and weapons.
(4) The police unit will be subject to audits at any time by the Department of Justice or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(5) The police unit will designate a person to act as liason between the unit and the federal court system, the Department of Justice and any volunteer observer organizations.
(6) If the court found a long-standing pattern of abuse, brutality or racial or language minority animus regarding the police unit's temporary detention of arestees, then the court will order all police personnel in the holding facility to wear clip-on body cameras and shall consider ordering (i) twenty-four hour video monitoring in cell areas, (ii) the employment of additional officers, including those trained in first aid, (iii) specific changes to detention protocols, (iv) the employment of Spanish-speaking (or other language of need) officers, (v) physical changes or additions to the facilities, and (vi) the use of volunteer observers in or around the cell area.
(7) The court should consider the effectiveness of clip-on body cameras for all officers on patrol and their supervisors. If certain geographic areas have presented particular problems and others have not, the court should consider ordering that police officers use clip-on body cameras in the problem areas.
(b) Volunteer observers shall be authorized to—
(1) enter and attend at any place in which officers of the police unit are conducting official business for the purpose of observing; and
(2) ride along in any police cruiser or other police conveyance.
(3) Volunteer observers are specifically permitted to carry video cameras or any other reasonable recording device.
(4) Investigate and report. Volunteer observers shall investigate and report to the Attorney General or the appropriate designee, and if requested, to the court. Observers are directed to observe only, and if any problems occur, either the observer or the police unit may report same to the court.
(c) REPORTING REQUIREMENTS. In addition to the Universal Reporting Requirements described above, an Over-Policed Rights Act jurisdiction must also meet the following reporting requirements and provide to the DOJ or designee—
(1) a description of every instance in which an officer during the performance of his or her professional duties unholsters a weapon of any kind in preparation for its use on any human being;
(2) a description of any assault or battery committed by any officer of the police unit during his or her professional duties;
(3) a list of all incidents in which a police encounter escalates. This would include an officer making a traffic stop but ending up citing the person for a misdemeanor, or if the officer took a call for a misdemeanor and ended up filing felony charges;
(4) a list of all injuries suffered by arrestees or detainees, including those observable injuries that were not caused by, or occurred during, the arrest or detainment;
(5) any lists or reports required by the court tailored to the court's findings or any reasonable requests of the DOJ or designee. The final arbiter or reasonableness for the purposes of this Act will be the court; and
(6) a list of any significant changes to department or unit procedures or protocols.
(d) ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES. An officer of an Over-Policed Rights Act jurisdiction who fails to report an action as described in Section 3(c)(1)-(4) commits a felony. An Over-Policed Rights Act jurisdiction that fails to report as provided for in Section 3(c)(5)-(6) is subject to contempt and the contempt powers of the federal court. The Department of Justice or its designee may investigate any instance involing an unholstered weapon, an assault or a battery, and it or its designee shall investigate every instance in which shots were fired or a taser employed at a human being.
(a) PETITION FOR TERMINATION. After the expiration of one year or any longer term set by the court, the police unit may petition the court for relief from the designation as a Federal Over-Policed Rights Act jurisdiction.
(b) If by a preponderance of the evidence the court finds that the police unit has followed the terms of its order and the strictures of this provision, has implemented any and all reasonable and narrowly-tailored recommendations made by the Department of Justice, and if the court finds that the police unit has been positively changed and is now focused on proper policing techniques, then the court shall lift the Federal OPRA designation. In the alternative, the court may designate a reasonable term of probation if certain requirements have yet to be met.
(a) MISCELLANEOUS. Appropriations for this act will come from the General Fund every year without vote. This Act may be cited as "The Michael Brown Federal Over-Policed Rights Act of 2015."
(b) If any provision of this Act or the application of it to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of this Act and the application of its provisions to other persons not similarly situated or to other circumstances shall not be affected thereby.