House Democrats offer new police reform bill
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are proposing a new bill to reform American police following nationwide protests against police brutality and racism.
The “Justice in Policing Act” would create a national police misconduct registry, provide training on racial bias, make lynching a federal crime, and set best practice recommendations among other things.
During a press conference on Monday, Pelosi read the names of African Americans who have died at the hands of police in recent years.
“The martyrdom of George Floyd gave the American experience a moment of national anguish, as we grieve for the black Americans killed by police brutality,” Pelosi said. “Today, this movement of national anguish is being transformed into a movement of national action.”
The legislation has more than 200 Democratic co-sponsors in the House and the Senate but Senate Republicans have not shown much support. They announced Monday that they would consider writing their own bill in the coming weeks. A hearing on the topic is already scheduled in the Senate Judiciary committee next week.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says that Senate Democrats are going to fight like hell to pass the legislation adding that the poison of racism has permeated American society, beyond just the criminal justice system.
The Congressional Black Caucus believes that the power of the protest movement throughout the U.S. will help Congress pass this measure.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said that while white people originally came to the United States willingly, black people came against their will, shackled and enslaved and the injustices have continued to this day.
“Think about how long that is, how many generations that is. It’s a long time. Eight minutes and 46 seconds,” said Clyburn, making a reference to the length of time a Minneapolis police officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck. “That’s a long time to be on one knee, but for 244 years, there were plenty knees on the necks of blacks who came to this country.”
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris are the lead sponsors of the legislation in the Senate.
“These are common sense changes that, frankly, will create a far greater level of accountability for those police officers who violate the law, who violate our rights and who violate our common community standards,” said Booker.
On Monday, Democrats also announced that the brother of George Floyd will testify to the House of Representatives later this week in a hearing on police reform.
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