Legislative Spotlight: The White Supremacy in Policing Prevention Act of 2021 (DC Council)
In February of this year, B24-0112, the White Supremacy in Policing Prevention Act of 2021 was introduced into the DC Council. If passed, this bill would grant the DC Auditor the authority to investigate possible ties between the Metropolitan Police Department members and white supremacist or other hate groups. B24-0112 would also allow the DC Auditor to recommend necessary reforms to the department and prevent future ties between white supremacist hate groups and the police.
The legislation spells out what is considered a hate group and defines white supremacy to avoid confusion.
A hate group is defined as "an organization or social group whose goals, activities, and advocacy are primarily or substantially based on a shared hatred, hostility, or violence towards people of one or more other different races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, genders, or sexual identities."
White Supremacy is defined as "a hate group whose shared hatred, hostility, or violence towards people of one or more other different races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, genders, or sexual identities is based on the belief that white people are innately superior to other races and may include one of the following tenants:
White people should have control over people of other races;
White people should live by themselves in a whites-only society;
White people have their own "culture" that is superior to other cultures; or
White people are genetically superior to other people
The DC Auditor would be instructed to conduct a comprehensive assessment working with eligible external partners. An eligible partner is defined as one who is:
An expert in civil rights, racial equity, and the threat of white supremacist and other hate groups, movements, and organizing efforts; and
Experienced in law enforcement and intelligence oversight and reform or in conducting investigations and evaluations of law enforcement procedures, policies, and practices.
The bill defines tactics the DC Auditor can utilize to determine if white supremacist ties exist. Some of these tactics include: accessing information about officers' organizational affiliations and memberships; speech; photographs, or video footage; social media engagement; complaints; and interviews with officers, witnesses, or relevant stakeholders, that suggest an individual cannot enforce the law fairly. If the Auditor finds criminal activities or wrongdoing during an investigation, they are required to report the activity to the authorities.
As a result of findings, the DC Auditor could provide specific recommendations around Department officer or staff training, discipline, or other outcomes. They can also recommend reforms to Department policy, practice, and personnel to better detect and prevent white supremacist or other hate group ties among Department officers and staff that suggest they cannot enforce the law fairly and better investigate and discipline officers for such behavior.
On August 27th, there was Public Hearing on B24-0112, but there has been no other activity on the bill since. If you want more information about the bill or know its next steps, please contact Councilmembers Lewis George, McDuffie, Henderson, Nadeau, Allen, Bonds, Pinto, and T. White.