Lawmakers Push For Stricter Bounty Hunter Laws

Posted at 7:04 PM, Feb 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-07 20:17:55-05

It's been nearly a year since a father of three was gunned down by bounty hunters in a case of mistaken identity. Now state lawmakers are fighting back, through legislation.

"Jalen is always that guy. We didn't’t call him rooster for nothing, he was always the life of the party," said Toni Jenkins.

He was full of life, and a father of three. But Jalen Johnson's life was cut short back in April, after he was shot and killed by bounty hunters in a case of mistake identity.

"Just the effects of him not being here for Christmas, and those holidays that mean a lot between the relationship between children and parents," said Jenkins.

Jenkins tells us his nieces and nephew are growing up with out their father, and he's concerned that this could happen to someone else's loved one.

Jalen’s death sparked the conversation about bounty hunters and how they’re regulated.

Now law makers are trying to push for change on Capitol Hill.

"We’re hoping that there’s not another Jalen, and that this doesn't’t happen to another family in our state by passing this law," said Representative Joe Pitts.

Rep. Pitts says if the bill is passed, it would revise the current bounty hunter laws.

"[It would] prohibit bounty hunters from pursuing their quarry by vehicle. They would not be allowed to do high speed chases. It would regulate and restrict certain types of clothing. It would even regulate the types of badges they would have," said Rep. Pitts.

If the bill is passed, it wont bring Johnson back, but it could potentially save lives, and families a lot of heartache.

"While we can’t with any certainty guarantee it, we can at least reduce the likelihood that it’ll happen," said Rep. Pitts.

The bill  will go before the Criminal Justice subcommittee in the next week or two.