South Carolina’s junior U.S. Sen. Tim Scott has reintroduced the Walter Scott Notification Act in the Senate.
The bill would require states receiving federal funds for their law enforcement program to properly document all relevant details surrounding an officer-related shooting whenever a civilian is killed or injured.
“When it comes to tracking police shootings, we need a data system built for the 21st century,” Scott said in a release. “I believe this can help us keep both our officers and our communities safer.”
Scott is joined in reintroducing the legislation by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “Police officers put themselves into harm’s way for our safety every day, and anytime an officer uses deadly force is a tragedy,” Grassley said. “We don’t currently have a comprehensive system to learn more about these events so that we can better prevent them in the future. The data we collect under this legislation will be an invaluable resource for law enforcement, the public and for policymakers. The more we know about the circumstances around officer-related shootings, the safer we can make our communities for everyone.”
Under the proposed legislation, states would be required to keep track of a number of data points, including name, race, description of event, and overall circumstances that led up to the weapon being fired. A state which fails to comply with the requirements could be subject to a ten percent reduction in federal grant funds.
The legislation is named after Walter Scott, a South Carolina-native who was fatally shot by North Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager in April 2015. The incident received nationwide attention after video footage showed Slager shot Walter Scott in the back as he attempted to flee the scene following a traffic stop triggered by a broken brake light. Slager pleaded guilty to violating Walter Scott’s civil rights earlier this year.