Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.J. Res. 42, a resolution of disapproval aiming to strike down Washington D.C.’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022 (CPJRAA), a police accountability and transparency measure supported by the residents of the District and passed by the D.C. City Council.
In response to this development, the Legal Defense Fund’s (LDF’s) President and Director-Counsel, Janai S. Nelson issued the following statement:
“The House has once again moved to overrule Washington D.C. residents, advocates, and local legislators, continuing the disturbing and anti-democratic trend of legislatures undermining the political will of an electorate comprised predominately of Black voters. Overriding this bill means objecting to common-sense police accountability and transparency legislation, some of which has already been in place in D.C. for three years. We urge the Senate to do the right thing and vote against the passage of H.J. Res. 42.
“Across the country, more and more localities have passed legislation in response to the disproportionate police violence that is too often inflicted on Black and Brown communities. Millions took to the streets in 2020 demanding justice and accountability in our public safety systems, which led D.C. to implement common-sense accountability measures that were broadly supported by D.C. residents. Yet D.C. and other cities with large Black populations continue to be denied their right to self-governance. This type of governmental overreach is anti-democratic and threatens to embolden law enforcement officers to operate with abandon, making D.C. less safe for its residents.
“This House disapproval resolution is in opposition to the Biden administration’s stated goals of advancing police accountability and transparency. We are encouraged by the President’s Statement of Administration Policy that he will not sign this resolution if it reaches his desk. The people of the District have chosen measures to advance public safety, and their decision must be respected.”
LDF’s previous advocacy efforts on this issue:
Coalition Letter Urging Congress Vote No on the Disapproval Resolution of D.C.’s Police Accountability and transparency legislation (April 18, 2023 )
LDF Applauds White House’s Pledge to Veto House Resolution of Disapproval for Washington D.C. Policing Reform Bill (March 30, 2023)
LDF Urges President Biden to Veto Resolution to Strike Down Washington D.C.’s Policing Reform Act, Expresses Disappointment at Veto of Revised Criminal Code (March 28, 2023)
Letter from Civil Rights Leaders Urging President Biden to Veto the Disapproval resolution on D.C.’s Police Accountability and Transparency legislation (March 27, 2023)
Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.