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Tell Congress to restrict the use of deadly force by police, advance the PEACE Act


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Every year, nearly 1,000 people are killed by police in the US. Last year was no exception, the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database cites 1,014 people were shot and killed by police in 2019. Among these killings, Black and Latinx people are overrepresented, with black people being killed at more than twice the rate of white people.The utmost obligation of police is to respect and preserve human life. Our laws are insufficient to reflect this principle and must be changed.

Nine states and Washington, D.C. have no statutory law on police use of lethal force, leaving them to default to the standard set by U.S. Supreme Court opinions. In the other 41 states with use of lethal force laws, the standards are far too permissive and vary greatly. Laws range from nine states that authorize police use of deadly force to suppress a riot to a mere eight that require law enforcement to give warning “when feasible” before lethal force is used.

A person’s right to survive an interaction with law enforcement should not be dependent on where they live. A more restrictive national standard is needed to limit law enforcement use of force to prevent families from being devastated by this violence and provide for accountability when police use of force is excessive or unlawful.

The Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone or “PEACE Act” of 2019, would raise the standards for use of force by law enforcement officers. The bill would bar federal law enforcement from using deadly force unless necessary — as a last resort — to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury, and reasonable alternatives have been exhausted. This pushes beyond any state with a law addressing police use of force and the current federal standard.

Urge your U.S. representative to support the PEACE act (HR 4359), and call on Congress to advance this potentially life saving legislation