Connolly Introduces Amendment to Justice in Policing Act

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Washington, June 24, 2020 | comments

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, offered an amendment to the Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 7120) requiring that funds paid by the Department of Justice’s civil assets forfeiture equitable sharing program be redirected to public welfare.

While several states have passed laws with similar requirements, they are easily sidestepped by state and local law enforcement agencies who can ask the federal government to “adopt” seized assets through the Equitable Sharing program. The Department of Justice sends up to 80 percent of that funding back to police departments, who are then free to direct it to their preferred law enforcement activities. Connolly’s amendment would close this loophole by requiring that these funds be used on activities that benefit the public welfare.

“The current structure of civil asset forfeiture programs is devastating to communities of color across the country,” said Connolly. “The proceeds from assets seized by state and local agencies should not be a slush fund used to finance even more law enforcement activity. Instead, it’s past time such money is directed back into the public welfare of our communities. My amendment does just that.”

Rep. Connolly’s amendment is cosponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Tony Cardenas (D-CA). Connolly is an original cosponsor of the Justice in Policing Act.

Full text of the amendment can be found here.

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