The district council for Washington, D.C. on Tuesday approved a raft of police reforms after days of protests against police brutality and racism in the U.S. capital and nationwide, sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody.
The emergency legislation, approved by a unanimous vote, comes as a number of cities rethink approaches to policing but falls short of calls by some civil rights activists to defund city police departments.
It bars the use of neck restraints, such as the one used against Floyd, and requires the release of names and images from officers’ body cameras after “an officer-involved death or the serious use of force.”
It also prohibits the Metropolitan Police Department from hiring people with a documented history of police misconduct and places limits on non-deadly force and the police department’s acquisition of military weaponry, among other measures.
“There’s no question whatsoever about whether we have to significantly reform our policing. The only question is whether we and our policing leadership are ready to step up to that challenge,” said district council member Robert White.
In a statement read by the council’s chairman, Phil Mendelson, Mayor Muriel Bowser said she was supportive of the legislation but thought there should be a public discussion.