Virginia Mandates Police Receive Anti-Racism Training, Bans No Knock Warrants

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Jake Dima Contributor
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Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed over a dozen police reforms into law, including mandated anti-racism training for law enforcement and a ban on no-knock warrants.

Senate Bill 5030, which was passed Wednesday, “creates statewide minimum training standards” on “awareness of racism” and “biased profiling,” according to a statement from the governor’s office. The ordinance makes the Commonwealth the third state in the nation to ban no-knock raids, and the legislation also forbids local departments from acquiring “grenades, weaponized aircraft and high caliber rifles” in an effort to demilitarize, Northam’s team wrote.

“Too many families, in Virginia and across our nation, live in fear of being hurt or killed by police,” Northam said in the release. “These new laws represent a tremendous step forward in rebuilding trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

“I am grateful to the legislators and advocates who have worked so hard to make this change happen,” he continued. “Virginia is better, more just, and more equitable with these laws on our books.”

RICHMOND, VA - JULY 25: People carrying homemade Black Lives Matter shields march in front of protesters on July 25, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia. Protesters in Richmond took to the streets to join other protesters around the country for the Stand With Portland rally in support of the Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon. (Eze Amos/Getty Images)

People carrying homemade Black Lives Matter shields march in front of protesters on July 25, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia (Eze Amos/Getty Images).

The bill ensures that people of color be present on the Criminal Justice Services Board, bars officers from using neck restraints in some situations and requires cops to intervene when their fellow peace officers are engaging in excessive force, according to the statement. (RELATED: Law Enforcement Trainers Describe How Police Are Taught To Decide When To Use Deadly Force)

The ordinance also makes it a Class 6 felony for an officer to “carnally know,” a term for engaging in sexual relations, anyone that they are in a position of authority over, such as an inmate or parolee, the release read. In addition, localities can create “civilian law enforcement review boards,” which can discipline officers.

“The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery woke Americans to a longstanding problem that has existed for generations—and we know Virginia is not immune,” Virginia State Senator Mamie Locke said in the statement. “These are transformative bills that will make Virginians’ lives better, and I’m so proud to see them signed into law.”

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