Federal Bill Would Require Cops To Ask Suspects Not To Kill Them Before Shooting

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay plans to introduce legislation that would establish a federal use-of-force standard.

St. Louis, MO – U.S. Representative William “Lacy” Clay (D-Missouri) announced new legislation on Friday that would change the use-of-force standard for federal law enforcement officers.

Clay’s proposed measure, known as the PEACE Act, would require police officers to use de-escalation techniques before resorting to deadly force, KMOV reported.

The measure would require states to enact similar use-of-force legislation in order to qualify for federal funding for their law enforcement.

“It would set a new standard. And it makes sense,” Clay told reporters at a press conference to introduce the PEACE Act on Aug. 9. “If the rest of the civilized world can abide by these standards, then it helps us get to a place where we need to be in law enforcement.”

“This new act... changes the way that communities are policed,” he said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Today we continue to strive towards making our country a more perfect union where black lives are respected and valued.”

The bill, co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Ro Khanna (D-California), was introduced on the fifth anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, a controversial officer-involved shooting that led to riots in Ferguson and the promotion of Black Lives Matter.

“Ferguson was a dramatic symptom of an illness that is prevalent across our nation” in which some officers “hired to protect and serve essentially terrorize our communities,” Clay said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

But Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson was cleared of wrongdoing in Michael Brown’s death by a St. Louis County grand jury and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation under President Barack Obama’s administration.

The federal investigation concluded that the evidence supported Officer Wilson’s claim that he was acting in self-defense and that Brown was attacking him when the officer opened fire, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Clay told reporters that he thought that Brown's unprovoked attack on Officer Wilson “could have been defused in another way,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“We’ve learned the names of black men and women that should not have to be known solely because of their deaths by law enforcement: Mike Brown, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and far too many others,” Clay said.

More than 20 additional lawmakers have signed on to support the PEACE Act, which stands for Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone.

Donald Mihalek, executive vice president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation, pointed out that every federal agency already has a use of force policy that requires deadly force only when an imminent threat of danger to the officer or another person exists.

“Attempting to further restrict a [law enforcement officer’s] use of force parameters will only endanger the officer or others,” Mihalek told Blue Lives Matter in an email. “The NYPD Officers who had buckets and water hurled at them is indicative of a use of force dynamic from their leadership that discourages and punishes officers for taking action.”

Mihalek was referencing multiple recent incidents in New York City where criminals assaulted police officers responding to emergency calls by dumping buckets of water on them.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous 1989 decision in Graham vs. Connor has long been the standard for use-of-force decisions.

“It provides a reasonable officer standard for use of force decisions based on a totality of circumstances,” Mihalek told Blue Lives Matter. “The court recognized you can’t judge these incidents that often occur in microseconds with 20/20 hindsight.”

Washington University law professor Peter Joy said the courts have held that an officer in reasonable fear for their life and safety is permitted to use whatever force they deem necessary, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“They don’t have to make a judgment [such as] will a stun gun be sufficient,” Joy said.

The professor said he doubted Clay’s bill would pass, partly because of its conflict with stand-your-ground laws enacted by multiple states that allow regular citizens to defend themselves in an attack, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Joy said that if the PEACE Act passed, law enforcement officers “would have less options than citizens would have under stand-your-ground.”

During his announcement of the proposed legislation, Clay said that law enforcement supported his plan, KMOV reported.

However, St. Louis Police Officers Association Spokesman Jeff Roorda, said that is not the case for local law enforcement.

“It’s a very uninformed position the congressman is taking,” Roorda told KMOV. “Every police department in the United States has a continuum of force that they go through before they use deadly force. There’s not a police department in the country that doesn’t use deadly force as a last resort. I don’t know what the goal of this legislation is other than making noise.”

Comments (175)
No. 1-25
Anomie88
Anomie88

Today, I will not answer the radio call that there is an active shooter in your child’s school. Today, I will not answer the radio call that your boyfriend or husband has come home drunk and is beating you again. Today, I will not answer the radio call that your 16 year old daughter, who is very responsible, is four hours late coming home from school. Today, I will not answer the radio call that your store has been robbed or your house has been burglarized. Today, I will not stop a drunk driver from killing someone. I will not catch a rapist or a murderer or a car thief. Today, I won’t investigate the person peeping in your windows at 3 AM when you are asleep. Today, I won’t find your teenage child or college student stranded on the side of the rode without cell phone reception or injured in a crash on a secluded road. Today, I won’t perform CPR on your mother or father. Today, I will not answer the radio call that a man has a gun or tried to abduct a child or that someone has been stabbed or is trapped in a burning building and is need of rescue. Today, I will not save your child that you locked in a car or the child you were too busy to watch who went outside and fell into the swimming pool, but that I revived. No, today I will not do that. Why? Today, I was suspended from duty for doing my job, because the media, a community organizer, a lawyer who formally represented terrorists and a mayor or governor or congress person who ran on an anti-police agenda, who are afraid to tell people how it really is AND all who know nothing about policing, have vilified my profession. Or today, I was killed by a drunk driver while I was helping push a disabled car off the highway. I was shot and killed during a routine traffic stop to simply tell someone that they had a taillight out. I was killed in a traffic accident rushing to help a citizen. I was shot and killed serving a warrant on a known drug dealer. I was killed by a man when I came by to do a welfare check because his family was too busy. I was killed trying to stop a bank robbery or a grocery store robbery. I was ambushed checking a house or a business or a school. I was ambushed by people who have heeded the anti-police rhetoric and want lawlessness to succeed. I was killed doing my job. A chaplain and an officer will go to a house and tell a mom and dad or a wife or husband or a child that their son or daughter or husband or wife or father or mother won't be coming home today. The flags at many police stations were flown at half-mast today, but most people won't know why. There will be a funeral and my fellow officers will come, a twenty-one-gun salute will be given, and taps and bagpipes will be played as I am laid to rest. My name will be put on a plaque, on a wall, in a building, in a city somewhere. A folded flag will be placed on a mantel or a bookcase in a home somewhere and a family will mourn. There will be no cries for justice. There will be no riots in the streets. There will be no officers marching, screaming “no justice, no peace” because that would be “racist.” No citizens will scream that something must be done because that wouldn’t be part of the social agenda. No windows will be smashed, no cars burned, no stones thrown, no names called. Only a lonely someone crying themselves to sleep tonight will be the only sign that I was cared about and that I am missed. I was a police officer.

Lesstalkmoreaction
Lesstalkmoreaction

Yet another (D) virtue-signaling for fantasy instead of adapting to reality.

T00R
T00R

Lacy Clay is an idiot. The parkland cop got jambed for failing to take action, now he wants to prevent cops from taking action. What's next, mother may I shoot this clown? Idiot.

Shastabeau
Shastabeau

I've got rocks in my yard that are smarter and have more common sense then these law makers!

HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

Totally fucking ridiculous.