SC Sen. Tim Scott unveils police reform bill, asks Democrats to cooperate

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tim Scott unveiled his much-anticipated law enforcement reform bill Wednesday in response to nationwide protests against police brutality and encouraged his Democratic colleagues to sign on, even as he acknowledged that his legislation may not go as far as they would prefer.

In announcing his legislation, the Republican lawmaker who grew up in North Charleston rejected any framing that lawmakers must pick a side in the conflict between law enforcement and communities of color.

“If you support America, you support restoring the confidence that communities of color have in institutions of authority,” Scott said.

The 106-page bill, dubbed the “Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act,” would encourage police departments to ban chokeholds by threatening to withhold federal grants and require officers to report use of force and no-knock warrants.

The legislation would also make lynching a federal crime, incentivize the use of body cameras through federal grants, increase penalties for false police reports, create a “Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys” and charge federal law enforcement with a federal crime if they engage in a sexual act with an individual in custody.

When multiple police chiefs from around the country were asked by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham , R-S.C., during a Senate Judiciary committee hearing Tuesday whether losing grants would get their attention and prompt them to shift course, all answered in the affirmative.

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